April 28, 2021
I had the absolute worst dream last night. I was back at home again and knew I only had 27 miles left to complete this trail, but I was stuck in Indiana and couldn’t get back to Arizona and no one seemed to care. Woke up stressed and anxious and had to remember that I was, indeed, still at the Jacob Lake Inn and about to finish the AZT, not at home feeling like a failure. Seriously, the post-trail depression I experienced after getting off the PCT was no joke, and the feeling still haunts me sometimes.
Ghosthiker was up fairly early, as per usual. I couldn’t get back to sleep after waking up from that nightmare, so I just laid in bed trying to let the coziness settle my nerves. Eventually, I got up and made some coffee, then at 7:00am Hi-Ho and Fireworm sent Ghosthiker a text asking if anyone was awake and what time the Inn opened. Ghosthiker went out to find them so she could lead them back to our room. The Jacob Lake Inn has a hotel and a motel, as well as several cabins, so the whole place is a bit of a maze if you don’t know where you’re going. Ghosthiker brought the girls back to our room so they could at least take off their packs, sit down, and be warm and dry, as it’s still freezing outside.
We chatted for about an hour until the lobby opened up and then they went to get food and see about getting a room. I followed shortly after, needing to get out of the room and out of my head. Stumbles, Willbo, and Bass were already there. All the girls were sitting at one corner of the diner and the boys were at the other. Fireworm beckoned me over to the chair next to her and Stumbles welcomed me to the “Girls Corner”, lol. Breakfast burritos were delish! Some of us lingered over our coffee, chatting idly. Looks like several of our friends are taking a zero today, too. I’m glad. I’m excited to be so close to finishing a hike, but also sad that I probably won’t see any of these people again after this.
Hi-Ho and Fireworm weren’t able to get a room, but Willbo and Stumbles offered to let them share their room at the hotel, which has much larger rooms than the motel where Ghosthiker and I are staying.
Since the only chore I had to do today was make sure my tent and all my hand-washed things dry out all the way, most of the day was spent chilling. Ghosthiker was more than content to stay in our motel room, snuggled in bed while talking to her husband on the phone, catching up on her trail journal, and watching the news. I spent the afternoon hanging out with other hikers, playing basketball, getting lunch at the restaurant, and meeting other travelers who were coming and going. I met a cool bike packer with a cat named Sage that was traveling across the country with him. Turns out, Willbo met him earlier and offered to let him stay in their room for the night, since there were no other rooms available. He admitted that he didn’t know where the room was, but he knew the number, so I walked over with him (partially to help him find his way, but also to double-check that Willbo had, in fact, offered to share their room). When we got there, we found a party! Not only were Willbo, Stumbles, Hi-Ho, and Fireworm there, but Bass, Cameron, and Oklahoma were staying there as well! I felt kind of bad that Ghosthiker and I hadn’t offered to let anyone stay in our room with us, but I knew better than to offer without checking with Ghosthiker first.
I had told Ghosthiker I’d pick her up something at the restaurant, so I left to go do that, ate dinner with Ghosthiker in our room (beef stew and delicious red wine), and we talked about offering to let some hikers share our room. In the end, we decided not to. I could tell Ghosthiker was really needing some peace, quiet, and privacy. She’s a solo hiker by nature and gets easily exhausted around big groups of other hikers, so I didn’t push it. In all honesty, I was a little jealous of the others. They told me I’d “better come back for movie watching later” when I left earlier, so I took some wine with me and made my way back to the hotel to hang out for a while. Everyone was lounging on beds and the floor while we watched No Country for Old Men. Mostly we just sat around chatting while the movie played in the background, lol.
I had been kind of stressed all day trying to figure out my end-of-hike travel plans. Ghosthiker has already bought plane tickets and arranged all her travel, but I’ve been dragging my feet. Well, it turns out Hi-Ho and Fireworm are in the same boat. They figured the easiest city to get to from the northern trailhead is Las Vegas, and it just so happens that Bass’ mom lives there and is coming to the trailhead to pick him up! The only problem was, Bass was planning to hike out and finish the last 27 miles in a single day. It didn’t take a lot of convincing for him to change his mind, though. With a little sweet talking, and after he called his mom to confirm the new pickup date and time (and new passenger number, lol), it looks like the girls and I will be heading to Vegas after the trail! Woot!! Problem solved! Partially, anyway. Now I just need to book a flight home from there.
A little while later, I went back to our room and went to bed. I may have had too much wine, but that’s okay.