You didn’t think you were done with me just yet, did you? I still haven’t told you about my arrival to the finish – the PCT monument at the northern terminus I.e. CANADA!
When I woke up Tuesday morning, Yuch had been up since 2 am. It’s not easy sleeping through the night when it’s freezing cold outside. With my trusty liner, I have mostly been able to keep warm at night. Yuch opted not to bring his liner to Washington, in attempt to save some weight. Mainly we both didn’t expect Washington to be that cold, but it has in fact proven to be the coldest part of the trail due to the rain, lack of sunshine, and often being stuck in the depths of the forest far from the sun if there is any.
We were motivated to get on to the trail and to the border, mainly just to get moving and get warm. So after getting down an ice cold mocha (instant coffee + chocolate malt ovaltine + instant creamer) and an ice cold oatmeal with fresh huckleberries, we set out on to our last 8.5 miles of the PCT, all downhill.
It was freezing. I had hoped the further down we descended the warmer we would get, but it in fact got colder and icier as we hiked further and further away from the comforting rays of the sun. We hiked faster. So this will be my last memory of the PCT.
Well, that, and maybe just a few more downed trees to hop over, under, and around. Ok, maybe that will be my last memory of the PCT.
Arriving at the monument, I had thought I would burst into tears of happiness, relief, sadness, whatever. But when it popped up into sight, this wasn’t exactly the case. Instead, it was mainly business – take photos, sign the register, and keep on walking before we turn into frozen hiker mummies.
Signing the register I saw that Noémie (now Red Cross) had signed the register on the 10th, just 3 days before me. I couldn’t believe it. I had thought she had finished closer to Animal and Chance. If only I had known she was so close, I would have hiked faster or taken less zero/Nero days. I wish I could have seen her again before she flew back home to Switzerland.
I signed the register that Coconut and I had completed the PCT at 9:30 am, and the usual “the goose hangs high”. (If anyone even knows what that means…)
And then, onward to Manning Park, just 8.9 more non-PCT miles to the lodge where I would “officially” be done hiking, for good.
At Manning Park, a trail angel named Canadian Bacon immediately approached us. He was a hiker who had to cut his journey short due to an injury and now was providing trail magic at the finish. He had a picnic table set up with beer and tons of food, but his main form of magic was that he was offering rides to Vancouver for the next few days.
Yuch and I had planned on staying the night at the lodge, and then taking the 1:50 am Greyhound to Vancouver the following day. Yes, you heard that right. The only method of public transportation from Manning Park to Vancouver is a Greyhound that picks up at the most convenient hour of 1:50 am. So, we were pretty happy to hear that this guy was offering an alternative service. We told him we would love to get a ride into Vancouver the following day, after a full nights rest at the lodge, as well as showering and laundry.
The scene at Manning Park was well, both happy and sad. Obviously everyone including me was ecstatic to be done hiking. The sad part was seeing everyone get there, and just leave. Back to the real world, never to be seen again. Almost like this never really happened.
3 Bucks’ brother came to pick him up and after a couple games of foosball (in which I finally met my match), I said goodbye to my friend from so far across the world.
Yuch and I thoroughly enjoyed the accommodations at the lodge. Taking our first shower, doing laundry, getting dinner at the restaurant, and sleeping in a bed without worrying that we would freeze during the night.
The next morning we greeted Proton and Dreamcatcher as they arrived off the trail and we all had breakfast together. They soon got picked up by a friend who would whisk them back to Seattle.
Our wonderful trail angel & fellow hiker Canadian Bacon dropped us off right in front of our bed and breakfast which we will stay at for 2 nights before heading back to Seattle.
It is in the hip (at least it seems hip) and super nice area known as Mt. Pleasant, not too far from the downtown area. Canadian Bacon, like many other trail Angels, would not accept our money for the 3.5 hour drive, but did except a slurpee from the 7-11 on the way.
I guess you probably want to know my thoughts on the PCT. Some people hike the trail to find answers. Did I find them? Let me just say this… Have you ever played 52 card pick up? I actually felt like a solidly packed and organized deck of cards before I left. Now I feel like someone threw all my cards up in the air and they’ve landed all over the place.
That’s the only way I can describe it. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.
I’ve learned that I really do enjoy backpacking and the great outdoors, but to truly appreciate it, you needn’t be pressured by time. On this hike, I had time on my mind every moment of every day. I regret that. However, had I not set a time limit, I might still be on the trail and I hear Washington is in for a lot of rain and cold this week.
Will I ever do a thru-hike again? I’m saying no, right now. There were times on the trail that I was scared to death. “Never again”, I told myself without doubt. Just like I tell myself after I run a really hard road marathon…