9/1/17 15.1 miles 2659.8
Last night as we were uncomfortably crouched around our jetboils in the cold, someone questioned, “did you think you would make it this far”. We all thought for a second and then said, “yes.” Most people who set out to do a thru-hike think they are gonna make it and hope that they will. In reality a lot of people don’t make it though. People quit for a myriad of reasons, injury, bored, tired, etc. Even my own brother in law didn’t think we would make it more than 3 weeks! I get it though, it seems crazy to walk that far with little to no reason why and no real incentive, but what you leave with is a great accomplishment and an experience that you will never forget. Matt and I had given up a lot to come out here and we weren’t going to quit unless injured. As I write this we are once again on the move through Southern CA making our migration back to Portland. First we are stopping in L.A to visit my good friend Abby before heading to Santa Rosa to see Joe Dirt our hiking buddy.
Today is our last day on trail. I didn’t feel sad but excited to hang up my hiking shoes and poles for awhile and let my legs recover. Matt was still convinced we would go back this year and finish the Sierra. I on the otherhand doubted this as I knew snow would be an issue in October and I was pretty much done hiking. We completed 2300 of the 2650 miles of the PCT. Those last 350 miles will have to wait for now.
It was determined that I would go first this morning and everyone would match my pace so we could all stay together. Fluffy insisted he could stay behind me, I knew he couldn’t. Not ten minutes later I hear his footsteps approaching from behind. Before I knew it he passed me and made it to the monument first. It was only 6 miles to the monument from camp and they went by quickly as we were all excited to get there. Around 9am we emerged from the trees into a thin treeless opening, the border. I looked up and down this manmade clearing and I could see the monument below us. We could see fluffy already there and we all yelled and booed at him for not waiting for us. We then quickly went back into the woods for one last switchback and emerged at the monument. We spent a couple of hours here taking pictures and having snacks.
You would think the monument symbolizes the end of the PCT, but you actually still have 8 miles to go. Manning Park is the unofficial end of the trail as that is where the roads are that will lead us back home. So off we went for 8 more miles through uneventful terrain back through the forest before reaching an old road that took us down to the first paved road we had seen in days. In the distance I could see J.D., Peanut, and Fluffy waiting at a road. This was the end I guess. Naturally, Matt and I start racing in order to win. During our race to win nothing my phone fell out of my pocket and Matt ran past me. J.D’s uncle Val had been at the road for hours waiting for us to finish. He greeted all of us with a nice cold beer. He then drove us the mile to Manning Park Resort where we ate some subpar food from the restaurant.
Before eating Fluffy learned that his passport had not been delivered yet. All the postal service could say is that it was in transit, to where they could not tell. We tried to reassure him that it would arrive with today’s mail, but understandingly he was upset. He quitely ate his meal while grunting every now and then about his passport. After lunch we waited for my sister to arrive and drive us all the way back to Portland. She would be spending her day off driving over 600 miles to pick us up and shuttle us back to her house. After Lisa arrived we took free showers supplied by the resort and then said our goodbyes and hopped in the car. Matt immediately fell asleep in one of the many dog beds that permanently resides in my sisters back seat. And just like that our hike was over!
There would be little rest for us as we would soon fly back to Arizona to float through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado river for 18 days.
A little inspiration from my Dad
Thanks to all who followed along, and to the special people in Matt and I’s lives who met us, fed us, drove us around, sent us packages, and watched our dogs for longer than you should ask anyone too. If I could repay you I would, but I’m homeless and unemployed 😉