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City: Mt Hood
Begins: Apr 21, 2010
Date: Mon, Sep 13th, 2010
Start: East Glacier
End: Waterton, Canada
Trip Distance: 142.0
Entry Lat: 49.04867
Entry Lng: -113.928223
Entry Visits: 423
Journal Visits: 3,289
Guestbook Views: 366
Guestbook Entrys: 7
Continental Divide Trail Map
My mother-in-law Carol said, Whoa, its going to be difficult writing your final blog entry. I said, Yeah, I think thats why Im putting it off. But its time for closure so here goes.
Dave and I did indeed walk our last steps on the CDT yesterday around 4:00. It seemed like such an abrupt ending, like maybe were not done, maybe were just in town to resupply and will be back on the trail tomorrow. But no. We are really done. Like done. Kaput. Finito. No mas. We got to the International border of Canada/USA and there were border monuments and a long clearcut stretching in both directions as far as you can see defining the border. That was the official end. A clearcut. It did not seem real to me. We did do a montage of photos and had a can of Moose Drool beer that Dave surprised me with to mark the occasion. We still had another 3.5 miles to Waterton town site where Daves folks were to pick us up. That is the cruel joke of all 3 of the long trails in the US, the official end of the trail is not the real end. You end with whoops and hollers but then have to put the packs back on and hike some more.
I am totally happy that we chose to go northbound and end in Glacier National Park instead of New Mexico at a barbed wire fence on the Mexican border. I was a little worried that when we got to Glacier I would be disappointed with the scenery. After all, we had seen so much in the last 3000 miles, maybe Glacier would no longer be the most amazing place in the world for me, as it has been since 1996 when I worked there for a summer. I have always had this special place in my heart for Glacier because I feel that is where my love of the outdoors truly developed that one summer during my junior year of college. My worries were annihilated once we got to the park. This place is like none other. It doesnt seem fair that one park can have so much jaw dropping, eye popping, heart stopping, hip hopping (hey, it rhymes) fabulousness as Glacier has. It is truly unbelievable.
We started the hike by entering the park at an unmarked trail head that took us to East Glacier where the thru hiker vortex happened. We met 2 other thru hikers wed never heard of, Little G and Sunflower; I saw our friend Hydro Heidi standing on the other side of the road from the general store; we finally met Sarong (see picture prior post), one of the infamous 30s who we have heard so many hilarious stories about (side note: We have created this larger than life image of his mother, Whiffer, who left a bucket of candy at Stoney Pass so many miles ago. We imagine her standing at the top of every steep pass grilling hotdogs for us and handing us cold beers. Thru hiking makes you delusional); and we randomly met up with thru hiking friends from the 2005 PCT hike, Lookout and Mongous, who gave us lots of goodies and insight on the upcoming trail. We had not planned on staying in town that night but after all of this hub bub we couldnt get back on the trail just yet. We stayed at Brownies hostel with Heidi and got out late the next morning.
We made our way to Two Medicine, which is one of my favorite areas in the park. The weather was not so cooperative with cold rain pouring down on our ineffective Gore-tex. I dont know anyone who has actual had rainwear shed water over a long period of steady rain. We reached Two Medicine soaking wet and cold early in the afternoon. After getting our backcountry hiking permit from the ranger station, we made our way to the camp store. We bought a pack of hotdogs and buns, a can of Pringles and a cup of coffee, spread our wet clothes out in front of the fireplace like a yard sale and loitered for a solid 5 hours nuking hotdogs as we read every magazine in the store. Fortunately it was the end of the season and the disgruntled, burned out employees could care less how long we stayed.
From Two Medicine we weaved our way up and over passes, down glacial valleys, cruised by deep blue lakes, thundering waterfalls and cascading streams. The weather didnt cooperate every day but it created some surreal landscapes with the sun trying to pierce trough the dense clouds.
At no point did this feel like the end of a 3000 mile journey. We tried to process what deep insights we came up with and only had these:
- Hot cocoa and granola are a great mix together
- Snickers are often cheaper per ounce then granola bars
- Using insoles in our shoes made for much happier feet
- Earplugs are magical, foamy miracles that can make the world disappear
Really one should expect something more profound from miles of silent walking, mental and physical challenges, time in the wilderness and all that other good stuff. Nope. We did not solve the issues of the world or figure out the meaning of life or even figure out what we want to be when we grow up. But, we know we will always try to live a simple, mindful life close to nature; we know we love each other; we know our most important assets are our family and friends (and hound dog); we know there is endless kindness and generosity in the world; and we know that we must follow our own path regardless of what others may think. I also feel like this met goal puts the cancer almost completely behind me, and that is a great feeling. Just knowing that my body has recovered enough to do silly things like walking 3000 miles makes the future look like anything is possible. I guess all of that is pretty profound.
Now that all that is left of the trail are memories, good stories and photos, aching feet and ankles and a ton of hiking gear that needs to be burned, we are planning on taking a vacation from our vacation and are headed to Australia for a month to visit our friends Katy and Daniel and their youngins. Thanks for all of the inspiring comments, donations to kicking cancers butt, well wishes, prayers, and kindness you have given. I hope our story has been a positive contribution to your life and maybe inspire others to do something that makes your mother say, Your doing what?! Are you crazy?!...