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Begins: Jun 10, 2013
Date: Thu, Aug 15th, 2013
Daily Distance: 21
Trip Distance: 1,318.0
Entry Visits: 1,351
Journal Visits: 13,256
Guestbook Views: 521
Guestbook Entrys: 14
Pacific Crest Trail Map
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The gecko that got a free ride to Canada
Last day on the PCT, and the trail put in its best effort to kill me. Go figure.
First thing this morning I hit the washout section that I'd been hearing about for a few days. It's new since the thunderstorms we had over the weekend, and it is scarier than anything I've had to deal with on trail. I'm a girl that likes her adrenaline rush, but this was not fun.
When I think washout, I'm picturing a slope where the trail is no longer a ledge, and you have to step carefully at an angle. That's not what was happening here. This was washout like, "Oh, I've just walked up on a 15' wide crevasse that is deeper than I am tall, and I have to get across it. What's that you say? The entire thing is made up of unstable scree and loose dirt? Fantastic."
There were about 7 total on the slope. The worst was dead center. I basically fell off the rim of it and slid in the scree, trying to self arrest with my trekking poles. Had a moment as I was sliding where I realized that this could easily turn into a bad situation. Weird to have a clear thought like that in the middle of an oh shit moment. When I stopped I had to sit in the middle of the ravine and let the adrenaline wear off. I was shaky, and knew that I would start to rush the climb out if I started right off. And that would be bad.
Climbing out was worse. Couldn't take a step without sending scree down a >45 degree slope. I eventually had to strap my poles to my pack, and essentially crawl up to a point to try and climb out. Much closer to rock climbing than hiking, except that, in climbing, your holds don't generally dislodge or disintegrate into nothing the second you put any weight on them, sending you sliding back to the bottom of a ravine in a shower of scree. Had a moment, after the third slide back down to the bottom, when I was genuinely concerned that I wouldn't be able to get out. Eventually scrambled out, praying that my holds would, well, hold. Felt pretty epic to claw my way over the edge and feel the breeze (I noticed this in particular.) To a more experienced hiker this may not have been all that bad, but I was way out of my comfort zone.
And then I walked to Canada. Really, from there on out it was a normal day. No worse for the wear apart from some scratches on my arms, and my left leg is a bit of a mess. Enjoyed the views, played hide and go seek with a pine marten, ate huckleberries--just another day on trail. Until I suddenly turned a switchback and saw the clear cuts along the border. Walked down the hill to find Fidget and Astro finishing up their lunch at the Northern Terminus of the PCT. It kind of startled me, actually. Obviously I knew I was going to finish the trail today, but it was still surreal to actually be at the monument. Nice to have someone there to celebrate the moment.
I had requested several well-muscled Canadian men to carry me on from the border to Manning Park in triumph, but they were late, so I packed up my gear in the rain and started walking.
A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.