Finding Peace in Uncertainty

It’s been a little under 72 hours now since we last had contact with Astro (Andy).  He’s at a section of the trail between Snoqualmie and Skykomish where the elevation gets trippy and there is absolutely no cell phone service.  My mind wanders continuously – is he all right, is he in pain, is he at peace doing just what he wants to do?  Many thru-hikers say this last 260 miles of the PCT is some of the toughest terrain other than the section through the Sierras.  There is a lot of climbing and then descending which is particularly difficult with a bad leg.  There are no roads that cross the trail so once you start this section you are committed to walking the 76 miles to Skykomish.  The good news is that it is gorgeous in Washington State right now with temps in the 70’s, and the weather looks to be cooperating all week long!

As any mother would do though, in my shoes, I play worst-case scenarios out in my mind – imagining him walking blindly over a cliff, tumbling thousands of feet down a deep crevasse and being eaten by a bear (although bears in this area are essentially herbivores.)  With Andy’s preference for his veggies I am hoping he will not be too tempting a morsel for a starving bear.  There is a small Grizzly Bear population in the Pacific Northwest, but I don’t want to even think about that.

Yesterday we had 5,500 hits on the blog.  Wow.  There is a certain amount of peace of mind knowing so many people have taken an interest, like somehow it’ll protect him and he’ll be healed.

Yesterday morning I sent my very last food drop — number 39 — to Stehekin.  Stehekin is 98 miles from Skykomish and is one of the longest stretches on the trail without a chance to re-supply.  This means he will be carrying more food and a heavier load.  Sending the package off  felt so final, like the journey really is going to come to an end.  I can imagine what so many of those PCT-thru hikers feel as they recognize that they will be finished very soon, how their lives have been changed and wondering what the future might hold.

On another note, a representative from Seattle Genetics, contacted me.  This is the company that produces the medication Brentuximab vedotin that Andy was given on Wednesday to reduce the size of his tumors.  The company has been so inspired by his story they are planning a rendezvous at the next Trail Angel stop in Skykomish.  Trail magic = food, companionship and well wishes.  Some representatives from the company might even hike along!

For now it’s just playing the waiting game for the next text or phone call with the latest up date and trying not to sound too anxious when that time comes.  In the mean time I try to focus on my own life, the work I need to get done and recognizing I just don’t know how this journey will play itself out.  Finding a place in my own mind where I can find peace as Pema Chodrom says, “And living in the unknown with uncertainty.”

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10 Responses to Finding Peace in Uncertainty

  1. Charlotte says:

    You are a brave and loving woman who is every bit as inspirational as your amazing son. Holding both of you in a vibration of safety and support, and knowing there is indeed magic afoot. There are many holding this faith with you. Love you – Charlotte

  2. Debbie says:

    God speed Astro! You are both in my thoughts & prayers daily. Believe in miracles, they happen every day! I’m praying faithfully for Andy to be the recipient of one… BELIEVE!!!!!!!!

  3. Bill says:

    Andy, there’s not a day when I don’t think of your journey! You are the man! I wish I was hiking with you! Betsy, your love and support is on every step!

  4. Ricardo says:

    Thought you might want to know the reason behind the surge in visitors to your blog: Astro’s story was picked up by boingboing.
    Thank you for sharing your adventures, this is an amazing story.

  5. Diesel says:

    I’m so inspired by this outstanding story of courage, fortitude, determination and love. True grit, deep passion, moving tale. Thanks for continuing to share. We will be as disappointed as you and Astro when this is all over.

  6. Molly says:

    Can’t wait to hear more as you continue up the trail, Andy. I felt so fortunate to get to hear your story & share it with our community. If you ever find yourself in Yakima again, I’ve got some outdoorsy friends that would love to meet you, & we’ve always got plenty of couch space! Enjoy the hike 🙂

  7. Cindy Maglietti says:

    I am rooting for you Andy and for your mom. I have 28 year old son thats a free spirit like you and you may cross his path this weekend while trekking through Washington state. I hope you make it to Canada. God bless you. Hang in there Andys mom. Our boys make us sad and proud at the same time.

  8. Marianne says:

    The trail has only revealed what you and your mom were already made of, Andy. Your spirits grew in adversity, and you obviously learned to support each other long ago. Yours is an amazing story. Thank you both for unselfishly sharing it.

  9. I can’t help but notice his smile which must be reflecting his overall feeling of adventure and determination in spite of the pain and adversities. Keep smiling Andy. Oh yes, do you have any requests?

  10. Ann Metzger says:

    Reading the part about Seattle Genetics gave me goose bumps! There is always hope and power in numbers (5500!!!!)

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