Miles hiked: 14.69 (2438.13 to 2452.82)
Terrible and Horrible told me that they just knew when they were done walking this trail. They woke up one morning and neither of them made a move to pack up. For hours, they sat, realizing finally that they were just done.
Today at lunch, as I pondered our collective excruciating pain, our many discussions about both having learned so much from this experience, and the wonder of discovering someone that I can hike with for so long, I sat next to Any Minute Now and said, honestly, that I don't give a damn about making it to the monument. I've stopped gaining anything new from the trail except novel permutations of podiatric agony; I've stopped having any kind of fun, really. I've proved everything I needed to prove to myself, far exceeding my own expectations, and am happy with this achievement as it stands. I think that I had wanted to prove to other folks that I could make it border to border, and it occurs to me now that that is a hollow reason to continue.
Any Minute Now seemed absolutely relieved to hear this. Her ankles roll a few hundred times a day, and she is very done, as well. I think she'd been independently considering the same thing for some time.
So, that decided, we altered our schedule from an 18 mile day followed by a 20 mile day to a whatever-the-hell-we-want-it-to-be day followed by two of the same. Then it started to rain. We found a campsite after a very sketchy bouncy log crossing near a big section of washed-out trail. Fun stuff at the end of the day. Imagine a two-toned chorus of profanity.