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The Journey Home

Last updated May 24, 2021 | Published on Nov 10, 2017

The Journey Home
October 2017

I awoke on Tuesday, October 3 at Little Yosemite Valley Campground with swollen lymph nodes and a painfully sore throat. It was time to get out of the backcountry and back to civilization where I could lay low and recover from whatever illness had descended on me.

View of Nevada Falls from the John Muir Trail

I previously made plans with Sunkist to meet up in Yosemite where we intended to hang out for a few days and explore the park together. However, the sore throat was going to change things.

Mule Train on the John Muir Trail

I hiked the 4 miles down to Yosemite Valley slowly, this time taking the John Muir Trail the entire way instead of the Mist Trail. I was feeling pretty grungy as I hadn’t washed my clothes or showered since my stay in Mammoth Lakes. Once on the valley floor, I made my way over to Housekeeping Camp to wash my clothes.

Fall Colors on the John Muir Trail

Sunkist found me there, coughing and blowing my nose and drinking herbal tea. She had managed to secure a hotel room at Big Pines Lodge for the night and invited me to stay with her. The temperature was forecast to drop below freezing that night and I didn’t think that continuing to sleep outside was a good idea.

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

Before heading to our hotel, we made our way over to the Majestic Yosemite Hotel Dining Room (formerly known as The Ahwahnee Hotel) for lunch. Built in 1927, the Majestic Yosemite is an elegant lodge that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.

Inside the Majestic Yosemite Hotel

I’ve always wanted to see the Majestic Yosemite and even considered booking a room there, but was deterred by the $550/night price tag. We had a fancy lunch in the grand dining room, however, and marveled at the 34-foot-high beamed ceilings and chandeliers.

Fancy lunch with table linens!

The famed “Tunnel View” of Yosemite

After staying a night at Big Pines Lodge, I decided it was time to throw in the towel and head home. I had hoped to spend a few more days exploring Yosemite, but I could tell that I was in for one of those miserable colds that hung around for a couple of weeks.

Big Pines Lodge

Sunkist and I packed up and drove over to Glacier Point to bid our farewells to the park. At 7214 feet, Glacier Point boasts one of the best views in the entire park – including vistas of Half Dome, Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, and Clouds rest.

View of Yosemite from Glacier Point. Half Dome is on the left and Vernal & Nevada Falls are on the right.

Half Dome! I climbed that!!

We drove to Fresno and stayed one last night in a hotel before Sunkist dropped me off at the airport. A huge shoutout to Sunkist for rescuing me and driving me to warm hotels and to the airport and for being awesome company.


Daniel picked me up at the airport and I found a bouquet of fresh flowers waiting for me when I got home. Hiking the PCT was an amazing adventure, but I was ready to be home. I missed my sweetie. And my soft soft bed.

Spider Mama, me and Tetris in Seattle

I spent the next couple of weeks on the couch fighting my cold and feeling utterly exhausted. I didn’t have the energy to do ANYTHING. I managed to rally for a couple of days to host Spider Mama and Tetris, who were in town just prior to their flights out of the country, but hit the couch again when they left.

Spider Mama and Tetris Saying Goodbye at the Airport

When the cold symptoms faded to a lingering cough and post-hike depression was starting to kick in, Daniel looked at me one day and said “Hey – what do you think about going to Thailand?” We realized that now would be an ideal time to travel internationally before I started searching for a new job. So we booked tickets for the following week.

All told, I hiked 1812 miles of the PCT this summer. That means I still have 832 miles left to go, and I intend to hike them! I’m not sure when I’m going to hike those miles, but it will happen. Someday.

But for now, stay tuned for my next blog posts which chronicle our rambles throughout Thailand!!

My Pre-Hike and Post-Hike Bods

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Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

I hope to share this knowledge with you and inspire you to explore new hiking trails too!


  1. garypegg

    Atta Girl!! Job well done, I can’t believe you stayed with it for so long, congratulations for persevering to finish so much trail in such an inclement year.

    • Unicorn

      Thanks Gary!

  2. Oscar

    Congratulations for that pleasant adventure, and thanks for sharing details of your trip, it was exciting to follow your post, my 11 year old daughter and I feel a lot of admiration and respect for you. Congratulations again and we will wait for your post from Thailand.

    • Unicorn

      Thanks Oscar!


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