My last week on the trail could not have been more serendipitous.
From the moment I spontaneously hitchhiked into Julian, good things were set in motion. It all started with a fantastic lift from the local Sheriff who added a moment of comedy to my day.
For a girl who had spent 3 months in solitude on the trail,my last days on the trail were wonderfully, amazingly social. What a gift and what a happy ending to my most amazing journey.
I truly enjoyed my time in Julian, hanging with my new friend Special Delivery. He was the secret ingredient that turned everything into gold. It was so enjoyable to spend my days in good company, relaxing, eating and visiting. We even did some sightseeing in the Cuyamaca mountains and the Mount Laguna area. All thanks to Special D. From a more practical perspective, it was a good thing I got off the trail. As per the forecast, the weather raged pretty hard for 3 days. It would have been terrible to be out there in that weather. Instead, I got enjoy some well needed down time and some rest.
After my most awesome 3 days, I finally got to hit the trail again. It was the longest time off that I had on my entire journey. Special D decided that I needed more special treatment and we came up with a new plan for my last 3 days. He would take my pack down the trail and also provide me with support along the way - kind of like a roving "aid station" just for me!
My first day back on the trail was sunny and beautiful and I felt so refreshed. The day started early with Special D joining me for the first few miles, before leaving me on my own for the day. He met me half way with a massive picnic, and then further down the road with more snacks. What a treat! It was so enjoyable to be out there on the trail with my tiny pack, I even got to bust out a run for a few miles. This was a real treat and I enjoyed every moment of my special day. I also arranged to spend the night with another new friend - Dave Super at Laguna Mountain Sports. He has a one-of-a-kind log cabin in the National Forest and it was truly awesome. I arrived in the dark to a log cabin smelling of wood smoke and home made Pea Soup. Happiness is a log cabin in the woods.
The second last day, I spent the day taking lots of photos, reflecting and enjoying my last time on the trail. It started with a beautiful sunrise in Mount Laguna and finished at Lake Morena County Park. There was a little bit of snow at the higher elevations, but mostly it had already melted. Again, Special D met me along the way with water and treats. I really enjoyed this last section - the trails around the Cuyamaca Mountains are really diverse and incredible.
At Lake Morena, Special D had set up the full car camping spread and brought the giant tent and the Coleman stove. It was so awesome! We cooked up a feast and I got further spoiled with a fantastic dinner, complete with red wine and S'mores on the bonfire. Seriously. What a way to end my trip with such good times. :)
Special D joined me for my last day of hiking - 20 miles to the border. The day flew by as we chattered along, another beautiful hot and sunny day. I had no expectations for these last 78 miles, and the terrain was surprisingly mountainous, diverse and oh-so-beautiful right until the end. But, it was the company that made these days really enjoyable.
Just 2 miles from the border, my friends Phil and Callie showed up to walk us to the border. They brought with them, fresh homemade cookies and a bottle of Champagne to celebrate.
I thought - how lucky am I to finish surrounded by such good people?
In my mind, it was the perfect ending to my time spent on the trail. My time on the trail has been full of stories of random acts of kindness from strangers. How fitting is it that I finish my journey in the company of a stranger, turned into a friend? My heart is full of gratitude.
Me and Special D
Special D, Phil and Callie