As if I needed any more inspiration, Ken had shown up in the middle of the night, set to join me for the end run. You may know Ken from our two days together in Ohio last June or because I am kind of doing the trek in honor of him. It was somewhat of a big deal having him there. My feet didn't touch ground much all day. I was too busy floating.
Colin completed our squad and we set out on the trail towards the Pacific. Time flew by despite my best efforts. I wanted to linger over every last step, but our momentum carried us on in a blur. Unsurprisingly, having people to talk to does tend to speed the process. Ken filled our ears with his usual litany of penis jokes as well as the newest version of how he lost his arm.
When you are missing an appendage or two, people tend to ask you how the loss was incurred. Ken had told one recent inquisitor, a young child, that he had been in a light saber duel with Darth Vader and the showdown had not gone his way. The child fell for the ruse. No shame there, Ken convinced a man in Las Vegas that he had his arm amputated after being caught cheating while gambling in Dubai.
Before I knew it, Point Reyes was in sight, although still a few miles away. We had been blessed with a clear, cool, sunny day. The Point jutted out into the Pacific, a thin finger of land indicating the way to Asia. At this juncture we were supposed to call Mark, who had recovered somewhat from death and wanted to meet us for the last couple of miles. We all had multiple bars on our phones, but were unable to call or text him. No matter, Mark had the same problem, so he ventured out on his own to meet us.
The fellowship now consisting of four, we came to the southern edge of Limantour Beach. One could simply walk out to the ocean from there, but that would be contrary to the very essence of the American Discovery Trail, which looks at hiking as the Tantric practitioner views sex, something to savor as long as possible, the climax delayed interminably. The trail headed inland and I took it, worried we would miss the post signaling the end of the ADT, or perhaps one last magnificent vista.
The detour turned out to be pointless. There was no sign and the path didn't take us to a grand overlook. We wondered after thirty minutes whether we were even going to turn back towards the ocean. Defeat was not be snatched from the jaws of victory, for eventually we did get going in the right direction.
My heart began to race as the runway approached the sand dunes. I surmounted that one last, small barrier. The ocean was only one hundred yards away. I stripped down to my shorts and took off with an exultant yell, the eloquent speeches forgotten in my ecstasy. A movie of the ten months I spent on trail, scored by Vangelis, played in my mind as I rushed towards the water. As the crashing waves and I collided, the magnitude of what I'd done struck and I collapsed into the Pacific, then rose, waving my arms in triumph. Suddenly, a great white shark came along and ate me.
There was a celebration that night. Fortunately, it was not the shark who was exultant. He found my flavor profile not to his liking and spit me out upon the beach. After I spilled a few tears in the sand, Mark, Ken, Colin, John*, and I were able to enjoy one last supper together. We devoured a Brazilian feast at Pizza Orgasmico in San Rafael. A fitting climax.
*John joined us after we finished taking a few last pictures. He had wandered over to where the ADT would have hit into Limantour Beach if the trail made any sense whatsoever.
14 miles/4116 total miles THE END