With nearly 1,100 miles logged, Cheryl ended her life-changing journey at the Bridge of the Gods on the border of Washington and Oregon. To celebrate, she sat down on a white bench at the East Wind Drive-In and enjoyed a chocolate-vanilla twist cone.

Four years later, Cheryl would cross the Bridge of the Gods again, this time with the man who would become her husband. Nine years after that, she would return with their children. "The four of us would eat ice cream cones while I told them the story of the time I'd been here once before, when I'd finished walking a long way on something called the Pacific Crest Trail," she says. "And how it would be only then that the meaning of my hike would unfold inside of me, the secret I'd always told myself finally revealed."