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I arrived at Rogers Pass at around noon on the 28th and began the process of trying to hitch a ride to the town of Lincoln.  This pass is where I have decided to leave the trail...yep, that's right, my trail hike is done for this year.  The decision does not come lightly and I will go into more detail in a later post, but right now i'll just say that my heart is not in the hike anymore and its very hard to motivate yourself for 3000 miles when your heart is not in it.
I really enjoyed my time hiking with Darren and Adrienne, it was so much fun to finally spend some time with them and share stories from the PCT.  We hiked together for 3 days and I pushed ahead just before Switchback Pass.  I wish them both a safe journey. 
The Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall wilderness is absolutely amazing, its so beautiful, this huge wall that seems to be so out of place.  Just look at the picture below, but imagine the whole valley in front of it covered with snow.  It's stunning.

After the Wall, I had to collect a resupply box in Benchmark which even though the guidebook says its 1.5 miles of trail, its more like 3.5 miles off, not that its a huge deal, but that's quite a few bonus miles.  I stopped at the campground to get water and ended up having a conversation with a woman staying there named Susan.  She was a wealth of knowledge about the local area. 
My box there was supposed to get me to Elliston, which is like 5-6 days away, so it was a big box even though i only needed to go 2 days to get to Rogers Pass and I couldn't leave a bunch of stuff because they don't have trash service at Benchmark, so I even had to carry my box with me, (which I later burned in a firepit, my first fire on any of my trails, so that was a novelty)  so it felt a little bit like overkill carrying such a full pack.
The ridge walks were amazing through that section and it finally felt like I was up walking the divide (pictures to come soon).  Just before the pass, I caught up to another hiker named Joey who is from Iowa setting out on his first thru hike.  He had good spirits and i'm sure he will go far.

So I got to the pass, right, that's where this post began...I stuck out my thumb to hitch into town and gave myself an hour before I just walked the 20 miles.  About 15 minutes later, a pickup offers me a ride in the back, which is was more than happy to accept.  To see the road and scenery flying back at such a brisk pace felt surreal, especially when we passed another hiker that was walking the distance.  Poor guy, I didn't even wave to him.  We stopped at the gas station in Lincoln and I thanked the driver and passenger purfusely and set out to find a way west.  What they don't tell you in the guide book is that there is no public transportation out of Lincoln, but that I need to get to Missoula, which is almost 90 miles away.  Oh, joy.
I thought about just getting a motel room for the night and dealing with that problem later, I even talked to another thru hiker, Freebird, who was on the phone at the 3 bears motel.  Anyway, I walked across the road and thought to myself, here goes the real adventure...I stuck out my thumb and a blue semi truck pulled over.  Hmm, I've never riden in a semi truck before, this will be an experience... I asked the driver, "Where are you headed?", he casually said, "Seattle", I tried to hold my enthusiasm back and said, "Huh, me too, but i'll go as far as you are willing to take me."  Now Seattle is like a 9 hour drive away or something like that, I was thinking that a plane from Missoula sounded more my speed.  Quick, easy, painless, worth every penny of the probably 200 dollars it would cost. 
Needless to say, the driver, Tom, and I got to talking and laughing and pretty soon we both realized that we were crossing Snoqualmie Pass and it was almost time to drop me off.  I learned all about weigh stations, state patrol, truck stops, vietnam, truck log books, etc.  Thank you Tom for the good company.

So last night I had cheese pizza, peanut m&ms, chocolate milk l and a great nights sleep and now i'm trying to figure out how to put into words why I left the trail...

Erin Thomas
6/29/2012

I can't wait to hear. :)

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Dave Rozman
6/30/2012

Hey Jason, praying for you man. I know this probably was not a decision you came to lightly. Look forward to talking to you soon.

Dave

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Greg Johnson
6/30/2012

You have got to be kidding! You are leaving us all hanging? The best to you as you formulate your thoughts

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Mary Johnson
7/2/2012

Jason..."mom" here. Hope I will get to hear from you.........

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Kristen
7/5/2012

Hey Jason;

We met you & Cassandra on the PCT in '10 at Callahans - then we went climbing. Have been wanting to finish the pct for the second time, so we are starting it all over again this year. We'll be in Monitor, Wa on Sun & Mon, then starting trail Wed - have logistics all worked out. If you want to join us to think for a while, well, we know you can keep up! email us if you're game.

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Team Black Cat
7/6/2012

Sending you a hug. SherryO

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