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City: Canon City
Begins: Apr 22, 2013
Date: Mon, Sep 23rd, 2013
Start: Castle Pass!!!
Trip Distance: 7.0
Entry Visits: 1,538
Journal Visits: 31,751
Guestbook Views: 562
Guestbook Entrys: 12
Pacific Crest Trail Map
.... Sometime in the night, someone made my tent much smaller... Oliver
didn't collapse in the snow that fell, but the sides were sagging painfully
under six inches of wet, icy snow. I woke up several times during the
night and shook the snow off the walls, but things were still pretty droopy
this morning. I got a little chilled last night, so I rolled out early
with plans to push on to... Are you ready?... CANADA!!!! After five months
of toiling away, today is the day!!!
Hiking in Washington's wet snow without serious cold weather gear is not
fun. There is no way to stay dry and it was really, really cold. Like
Polar Bear Club cold. Freeze your niblets off cold. Trapped in a walk-in
freezer cold. Fortunately, with less than ten miles to hike to CANADA, it
really didn't matter too much - I knew I'd be getting warm and dry by noon!
The hike down from Castle Pass went really quick, probably because I ran
most of the way, splashing through slushy puddles and slinging icicles and
freezing water off the overhanging brush. From the switchbacks, I finally
got my first glimpse of the clearcut strip which separates the US and
Canada. A few switchbacks further, and voil! There it was! I'd finally,
after almost exactly five months of hiking, arrived at the monument! On
April 23, at 8 AM, Frodo had dropped Jamie and me off in Campo,
California. We left the Mexico monument just before 9 that morning so long
ago, and here I am, 8:45 AM on September 23. Five, long, happy months.
I must admit - I wasn't sure just how emotional I was going to be. We all
think about the finish so much out here. I've heard of grown men breaking
down into a full blown sob fest at the sight of the metal obelisk and
wooden markers. For me, the experience was much more surreal and quiet.
I'm sure I gave a couple joyful whoops and I do remember running up and
giving it a hug, but to be honest, it wasn't a hugely emotional moment.
Incredibly satisfying, though! Just knowing that I WALKED from Mexico to
Canada this year... That's something I'll always have, something that no
one can take away or diminish, and something I'll remember forever. I have
loved, hated, then loved the trail again. It has broken me, given me
strength, and challenged me in unimaginable ways. It's taught me
perseverance, provided me with friendships, and provoked awe every day.
I'm forever changed by the experience, and knowing the trail is finished
brings a strange sensation of both joy and sorrow. Elation and sadness.
Oh yeah, and cold. It's still really cold...
I signed the register and took a few photos, and was putting my camera up
when I heard a huge war cry, and Goodall and Blur came running down the
trail! It was so great to see them again, and yes, it was nice to have
someone to share the moment with. We got a few quick photos, then pushed
on to Manning Park together. Did I mention it was cold??
We made it to MP by noon. I booked a room, went to lunch with Lotus,
Hermes, Burrito Grande, Instigate, and Spark who were all in town already.
Then, I took the longest and hottest shower on record. Back at the hotel,
I ran into Elk, who finished a couple hours after me! We went back to the
restaurant with Tallywa, Samba, Kidney Stone, Jackrabbit, and Burrito
Grande for "second dinner" tonight, then back to the room for another hot
shower. It's amazing how incredibly good it feels to be clean and warm
again; something so simple and trivial, but so deliciously comforting.
So far, I like Canada. I should though. I walked 2,665 miles to get here!
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org