From White Pass, my approach to the remaining sections of the hike was: 4 days + 3 days + 4 days + 3 days = Canada. Well, I just completed the initial 4 day, 100 mile trip from White Pass to Snoqualmie Pass on Sunday evening. Despite the poor weather, I was starting to feel strong and motivated again, getting up some good momentum for the finish.
Sunday was an especially difficult 26 miles through a persistent downpour over craggy trails, mud, overgrowth and creeks run amok. By the end of it, descending the Snoqualmie Pass ski resort, I was spent and ready for the warmth of town. Two miles shy of Sunday’s finish, huddled under a tree to escape the rain, I turned on my phone and received a message that I had hoped not to receive. My dear Aunt Sally had lost her battle with leukemia.
Sally, my mother’s deep hearted and fun loving sister, was always such a huge fan and supporter of mine. Always quick to laugh, be it at me or something surprisingly hip and aware. The day I was due to fly to LA to begin this trek back in April, she called me. Initially concerned that I was going off the deep end, she challenged me in the most positive and genuinely interested way possible. We had a very personal and lengthy conversation about my motivations for doing it. She thought I was being too hard on myself, but beyond that, she understood. Sally encouraged me and seemed excited about the challenge and potential reward for me and my life. This was tremendously helpful in clarifying my reasons and a resolve that I would need to draw upon later. Though I am so sad to lose her and for my cousins Chris, Brenda and uncle Paul, I know that she will be following me closely on these last miles and doing her best to bring me some sunshine. And if I start feeling sorry for myself again, I will think of what she would likely tell me. “Suck it up and get it done. You can do this.”
I will be flying to NY on Tuesday to celebrate her life with family, before returning Thursday night. No matter rain, snow, sleet or splendid sun, I will be back on the trail early Friday morning to complete the remaining 260 miles to Canada. Stay tuned.
I love you, Sally.