0 In Pacific Crest Trail/ Washington (USA)

PCT 2018 Days 158-162

Day 158

Miles: 11 into Stehekin

Health: My toenail looks like it has given up on life

Currently reading: Born a Crime

After leaving camp around 6:40 we had about five miles to get us to the road to Stehekin. We came across about a dozen piles of bear scat on the trail all filled with red berries. Clearly, these berries did not agree with this bear’s stomach. We followed its footprints for a while and heard something big in the trees but didn’t actually see anything.

We got to the road and while Hen was taking the shuttle into town, Crumbs and I did the six mile road walk to the PCT trailhead. Thankfully, it was a fairly easy walk although it did rain on and off for the two hours.

Once we arrived it started to pour more so we ducked into the porch of the ranger cabin and waited an hour and a half for the shuttle. Iceman & Pitstop also showed up. It’s incredible to think that I’m now in double digits, mile wise, to Canada. Only 83 to go.

On the way down to Stehekin the bus stops at an infamous bakery along the PCT. I got a pear danish, a cheese biscuit, veggie spring rolls, and a coffee. Yep, this place knows how to make a pastry.

We found Hen getting us a room and got a stern talking to about keeping it clean from the owner. Chill dude, we’re some of the good hikers. While waiting for us, Hen met a couple who had watched my YouTube videos. Yay!

Once in the room we cranked up the heat and dried out our gear. We took showers and did laundry and bought Wifi. I then bought my plane ticket home. That was crazy. I have an end date now. I have a ticket. It’s really real. We’re going to spend two days in Vancouver and then I’m going home to warmth and family and my kitty.

We had dinner with another hiker, Linda, and then went to sleep in a bed for the last time before Canada.

Day 159

Miles: 16.9

Health: My feet have stopped speaking to me

Currently reading: Born a Crime

I didn’t sleep well last night even though it was in a warm bed. I woke up tired and bummed.

We got breakfast and headed to the coolest little post office. I got my resupply box and organized it for the last time. I got on the bus back to the trailhead and took full advantage of the final stop at the bakery. It really is that good.

Today’s weather was beautiful and I can only pray that it stays that way for the next three days.

The hike today was almost all uphill. Not much happened. The evening is really, really cold. The snow is coming to Washington, you can tell. I just need to beat it!

Day 160

Miles: 24

Health: My feet are done with this trail

Currently reading: Born a Crime

The morning was cold and foggy but soon the sun came out and the weather was beautiful.

The landscape was amazing today and, in general, I’ve been so lucky to have fairly clear views even with so many wildfires this year.

I started to get a bit overwhelmed with the prospect of this journey ending. I’m ready to get to that monument and I don’t really have any regrets or wannabe do overs, but it’s still such a shock that my life is about to change so drastically. I love change, however, so I’m excited for the next chapter in my life.

We decided to do a shorter day today and tomorrow so that we don’t have to camp at super high elevations. However, that means my final day on trail will be a 28 mile day. The day after tomorrow I’ll be in Manning Park and finished with this adventure!

Day 161

Miles: 24

Health: Still with the feet

Currently reading: Born a Crime

We decided to leave camp a little later since we only had to do 24 miles today. We left around 7:30am. The sun was out again today and it was glorious. I will never take sunny days for granted again. Or beds. Or showers. Or hot meals.

On the way, we ran into an older couple who were hiking and giving out apples from their own orchard. Seriously, that may have been the best apple I’ve ever eaten in my life. I love totally unexpected trail magic. We got up to Harts Pass where the final fire closure was located. We were given more trail magic from an older gentleman in the way of rice crispy treats and chocolate. A few other hikers caught up to us including Wipeout, Sharkbate, and Leapfrog, and a hiker with the shortest shorts ever to be worn by a man. I’ve nicknamed him Rocky.

The rest of the day was mostly downhill and flat. We took our time and basked in the sun. It may rain tomorrow or we may get one final day of sun. I’m praying for the latter. It was weird to step up camp and eat dinner for the final time. I wonder when it’s actually going to hit me.

Day 162

Miles: 28

Health: Nothing can keep me down today!

Currently reading: Born a Crime

Oh my gosh! Today is the day! Today I crossed from the United States into Canada and finished the hardest and most inspiring five and a half months of my life!

I woke up eager to pack up my tent for the last time (for a while, at least) and hit the trail. The first seven miles back to the PCT from the fire closure were long and tough. After getting back to the actual trail and taking a short break I was ready to get to that finish line. I felt like flying and I kinda did. I left Hen and Crumbs in the dust and climbed up the final ascent of the PCT. The last climb took me over 7,000ft and when I made it to the top it started to snow. Yes, snow. One more hurdle, I guess. It was actually quite beautiful and peaceful and a lovely way to end the journey. I looked across the mountains and knew that I could see Canada finally because I was only 5 miles from it.

I ran into a number of hikers who were on their way back from the terminus. I had permission to go into Canada but some hikers don’t get a visa in time and have to hike back to Hart’s Pass. One warned me that a mama and baby bear had been seen in the area recently. I turned off my music to listen for the bears and to thinking about how I was feeling with this adventure coming to a close. I cried some tears and laughed to myself but mostly I was just grateful. Grateful that I made it. Grateful I never had a bad injury. Grateful I never had to miss any section of the trail or gave up.

I saw the break in the trees where the USA and Canada meet and passed the “1 Mile to Go!” sign. I could hear other hikers laughing and celebrating at the terminus as I waited for Hen to catch up. Once she did, we walked the final .3 miles together.

The sight of the Terminus is something I can’t really do justice. It’s something that I had been dreaming about for so long but as time on trail gets longer that vision sinks to the back of your mind. It really is about the journey and not the destination.

But, the destination is pretty darn epic! I was greeted with cheers (take that Kennedy Meadows!) by a group of about 8 hikers already at the terminus. Yes, I started to cry. Yes, I took tons of photos and signed the book. And yes, we all danced! Hen and I had Cowtails to feast upon instead of beer.

We made it just in time as it started to rain as we wrapped up our time at the terminus. I could have stayed for hours and drank in that moment but I also had to get to Manning Park, a further eight miles into Canada.

We had planned to stay at Manning Park for the night but when we arrived they were totally booked up. I almost had a breakdown thinking about having to set up for one more cold night. We went out to the road to try for a notoriously difficult hitch and try to get anywhere for the night. Well, the Lord blessed us with a ride in 15 minutes and the gal was going all the way to Vancouver! Score!

We got a room at a Super 8 and had a victory meal at an Italian restaurant. I can’t believe it’s over. How do I do normal life again?

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