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Blazingstar08 - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2015

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Blazing Star
City: Gainesville
State: Florida
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 23, 2015
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Fri, Sep 18th, 2015
Start: Mile 2627
End: Mile 2650
Trip Distance: 102.0
Entry Lat: 41.19068
Entry Lng: -103.86626

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,758
Journal Visits: 43,103
Guestbook Views: 3,004
Guestbook Entrys: 75

Pacific Crest Trail Map

(Click image for full size)

PCT completed!

Oh Canada!

I awoke this morning on Jim Pass to the sound of the same light rain that
had been falling all night. I sat in my tent and drank my last coffee, and
ate the last of the pastries I'd carried out from the Stehekin bakery. It
was a big, beautiful, delicious sticky bun, covered with caramelized
sugar walnut topping, filled with cinnamon, and happiness. It weighed over
half a pound, and even three days old, was still a joy to eat. It wasn't
quite as amazing as the sticky bun at the Sweetwater cafe in Agua Dulce,
so many hundreds of miles ago, but it was pretty close. Today is the day
I'll reach the Canadian border, and the end of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Just like at the end of the AT, it didn't occur to me to pack out a beer,
or champagne, or whiskey, to drink at the northern terminus to celebrate
(and it's illegal to do on Mt. Katahdin on the AT anyway) I guess
starting the morning with a sticky bun is a close second. The days hike was
easy terrain-wise. A level morning, a climb mid-day, then a long downhill
to the border. It was switching from overcast, to foggy, to rainy, to
misty, but not snowy. There was even a very brief period where a tiny
patch of blue sky showed through. But around 2pm, it started to rain in
earnest. This lasted about an hour, just long enough to soak everything
again, pants, shoes, socks, jackets, packs. And it was a cold rain.
It couldn't dampen the mood though. All day, there were southbound hikers
coming from the border that had completed their hikes, and were heading
south to Hart's Pass, to hitch rides out to civilization. The trail ends
at the USA/Canada border, and once you reach it, you can either hike
north 8 miles into Canada, if you have an approved permit to enter Canada
via the PCT, or hike south 20+ miles back to Hart's Pass. I assumed
everyone would go into Canada, but many people's permit applications had
been denied for various minor criminal or traffic infractions, or because
it was simpler for friends or family to pick them up in Washington
somewhere. I reached the monument marking the end of the PCT at about 430.
Nomad and I got there at the same time. A hiker named Rafiki was sitting
in the clearing around the monument eating ramen noodles, and putting on
dry clothes, since the rain had stopped. Nomad and I took pictures for
each other, recording the moment, posing with the monument. We each
signed the trail register there. Then, more hikers arrived. Minty
Fresh and Hushpuppy, followed by Occupy and Stummie. We had a bit of a
group celebration, sharing the half gallon of whiskey that Occupy and
Stummie had carried for the last 80 miles. Then, eventually, everyone
started to get cold. Occupy and Stummie, lacking Canada entry permits,
made camp in the clearing near the monument, while the rest of us hiked a
quarter mile into Canada to the backpacker campsite. We all set up our
wet tents for the last time on this trail, gathered together to eat our
various dinners, and then retreated to our tents for personal reflection,
and sleep. You might wonder what my mood, or that of my fellow hikers
was. No one cried, though one hiker came close. Everyone was happy,
relieved, joyful, proud, and looking inward. To me, it was the
accomplishment of a goal I'd had for several years, but not my first thru
hike, so not a new feeling of finishing an over 2000 mile long trail. I
never once questioned that I would successfully complete the trail. Those
of you who know me probably understand my personality enough to see how
that would be the case. I was and am happy. I think my emotions were
felt more on each beautiful sunny day, or each grey rainy day. I just
felt lucky. Over and over again. So very lucky, to have been able to
spend this time immersed in our public conservation lands along the
trail. To have lived 3 months in the woods in California, 1 month in the
woods in Oregon, and 1 month in the woods in Washington. To have a
better understanding of these ecosystems. To have walked through some of
the most amazing geographic and geologic features on the planet. To have contemplated
a land formed in fire, as so much of the west was. To have met new
friends, and seen old friends. To have spent time traveling to the trail
with my Dad. And to have had some real long periods of solitude in
nature. Just thinking about it brings a feeling of amazement to me. I
feel the depth of my good fortune. Very strongly. And each time I've
felt this good fortune, this happiness, on the trail, I've thought how
lucky I am to have been given the opportunity to take this journey. Not
just through my own planning and desires, hard work, and
decision-making, but from a supportive employer. A truly amazing,
amazing thing. So today, as I finish this long walk, I want to
acknowledge the people who valued me enough to give me leave from my job,
and actively support and facilitate this dream becoming reality. So, to
David Jowers, Brian Fugate, Clif Maxwell, and Donald Forgione, I say thank
you. I can't thank you four men enough. For saying yes, instead of
no. It has meant more to me than you might ever know.

Entry 59 of 59
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Journal Photo

Pacific Crest Trail - 2015

Enjoying the beauty of nature every day. Life is a wonderful adventure! -AC


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