L's friend Sue was there to pick us up and deliver us to her house where we would both go our separate ways, but first there were burgers to eat.
The next stop was in Baring where we went to the Dinsmores. They are a couple of kind and generous folks who take in hikers and pamper them before they head off into the last 200 miles of trail north. Or help out those southbounders who are just getting started.
I had sent a resupply box to them which they had picked up at the PO and taken to their home. My passport and Canada permit were inside - guess I won't be needing them this year... :-( I left a donation as a thank you for all they do for hikers. And I bought a t-shirt! Andrea told me the trail won't be going anywhere and I should come back next year and stay a couple of days before taking off to hike these two Washington sections. BTW, L really wants to go back and do the next 200 mile section with me next summer. I'd love that and I hope it happens.
When we got to S's place in Gold Bar I got on the phone to speak with my Mom and it seems like she is very serious about selling her condo and moving into a retirement place. At 92 the details of living alone, grocery shopping etc, are getting too hard for her. She hasn't been driving since her heart troubles started so she hasn't been as social as in the past. The place she looked at seems wonderful, the people friendly, all meals prepared, lots of activities for her to attend there and transportation to other events off site. The major downside is moving from a large two bedroom condo into a much smaller one bedroom place.
If I had been on the fence about leaving the trail this would have cinched it for me. So now my plan is to drive back to Santa Cruz and stay for a couple of days, then drive to So Cal and help Mom with the process of moving. There is someone in my place till October 1st so I can provide a lot of help in that time.
After my phone call extravaganza I joined everyone in a pizza, salad and beer event. There is a new little dog here that I fell in love with back to Bellingham (sad to say goodbye to L) and off I went to bed. This morning my wonderful hosts drove me all the way to Seattle where I waited with all the other people needing to get somewhere.
So here I am. On the Greyhound bus from Seattle to Yakima where my friends will once again pick me up and haul me back to Tieton, just in time for Tieton Days! There will be lots of activities over the weekend then I'll hit the road again and drive. At some point I'll be able to reflect on what this seasons hiking has meant to me and when I get some clarity I'll pass it along. I won't be calling it wisdom.