Getting to the Chalet last night was a dream come true. This is one of the most iconic places. Although the usual caretakers are out of town due to a family emergency, they have a wonderful woman taking care of the place. This kindness to hikers is incredible: it would be much easier to just close, but they wanted to make sure hikers are taken care of.
Last night, 800 Smiles and I each got a room, and within an hour Tikimon had hiked in too and he crashed with me because I had 3 beds. We were all so exhausted.
“Never quit on a bad day,” they say, and it’s the best piece of hiking advice I’ve ever heard. All day yesterday, even during painful parts of the hike, it was a pretty darn good day. I needed to sleep on my decision, though, and I woke up today knowing it was time to evacuate.
The Arizona Trail Association is a class act and released this statement. It’s worth a read. Although I made the decision to leave a day before they released this, the points they make were all things I was thinking about.
It’s not just about me and my desire to finish a thruhike.
It’s not just about me and my need to find adequate resupply.
It’s not just about me and my need to have a night inside now and then.
It’s not just about me.
It’s about my loved ones back in Minnesota.
It’s about the trail angels, exposing themselves to hikers.
It’s about the fellow hikers who, let’s be honest here, all have abysmal personal hygiene while hiking.
It’s about the mom and pop stores, the hotel workers, and everyone who lives in trail towns.
The world I left on March 1 is gone and this is not the world I anticipated living in, two weeks later. And it was time to get out.
I booked a plane ticket from Tucson and arranged a shuttle. Then I did my laundry and watched Tikimon pack his bag and hike on. It was incredibly hard to say goodbye.
It wasn’t just saying goodbye to a new friend; it was saying goodbye to my dream.