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DustyRoads - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2017

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Dustin Stensland
City: Laporte
State: Minnesota
Country: United States
Begins: Apr 29, 2017
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Tue, Sep 19th, 2017
Start: Mile 2613 Campsite
End: Manning Park!!!
Daily Distance: 45
Trip Distance: 2,438.0
Hours Hiked: 19
Min Temp: 28
Max Temp: 45
Breaks: 4

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 3,364
Journal Visits: 90,843
Guestbook Views: 506
Guestbook Entrys: 11

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Day 143. 45 mile push to the finish!!

I woke up yet again in the early morning, considering to myself why I felt so much warmer than when I went to sleep last night. When dawn finally broke over the ridge I realized why, a few inches of snow fell in the middle of the night creating an igloo effect trapping the warmth that I was creating inside my Yama shelter. Immediately I knew that I didn't want to sleep late into the morning again and I quickly put on my socks and shoes, packed up my gear inside my tent and wandered out into the now snow covered campsite. The first thing that I heard, and noticed, was the my friend Famous had neglected to put on his rainfly last night, meaning that him and all of his gear were soaked through the night. When we went to bed last night the sky was completely clear so he left his rainfly off, even when it began snowing early in the night it was only a dusting and he could just knock off the light snow without it melting upon him. When sunlight broke he would regret not taking the extra few minutes to put up his rainfly as the snow fell harder and eventually soaked through his gear including his sleeping bag and all of his gear in his pack. We didn't even make breakfast or coffee as we wanted to get on trail and start walking to warm up and get an early start.

As we began walking, the morale was low as we were both cold and wet, although I was much less wet than he was. The plan was to walk for 25 miles today, and have only 20 miles to walk tomorrow to make our way into Manning Park. As the day progressed Famous was thinking about hiking the entire 45 miles to the finish as he was completely wet, along with all of his gear. If it were to get as cold as last night he would be at risk of hypothermia. We had already discussed of him sleeping in my tent with me when we made camp at the end of the day. As we continued to hike his idea of hiking the entire 45 miles began to make more sense. I could have easily camped another night as my gear was still relatively dry. I didn't want to hike alone to the monument as me and Famous were becoming good friends, and I also didn't want to leave him by himself while he had no warm gear to sleep in if he was unable to hike the entire 45 miles by morning. As the day progressed I made the commitment to hike the rest of the way with him. As we reached the 25 mile mark for the day we stopped so we could drink a very strong cup of mocha coffee to push ourselves over the next 20 miles through the night. We stopped on the top of a ridge, covered from snow and wind as we drank our large cups of coffee while the night fell to darkness. After a 30 minute break, which would be our last break during the night, we pushed on to find that the last 20 miles would soak us further than we had ever been on trail.

While the terrain wasn't steep up or down, the blueberry bushes that were weighted down from the snow and rain hung over the trail soaking us from head to toe. My Yama rain skirt worked very good at keeping my midsection dry, my calves, feet and upperbody were soaked through from all the brush that overhung the trail. We hiked most of the last 20 miles in wet, freezing temps while thinking about how this was a good way to end the 5 months of hiking that we have endured. Or, at least it would make for a good story and an impressive amount of miles to walk all in one day. We reached the Northern Terminus, the PCT Monument at midnight. We only stayed for 5 minutes to take a few pictures in the dark next to the monument. The last 9 miles took the longest, as I imagined they would. After another 3 hours of hiking through wet brush our bodies were aching. My hips were cramping, my feet hurting from the swamp foot that began hours ago. And yet, I have to say I'm proud for ending on this note. I'm proud for sticking with my friend when he hasn't had the best of luck the last few days and while he needed a friend by his side to ensure his safety. The moment we reached the lodge at Manning Park and were told that we could sleep in the lobby on their couches we laughed with one another at the craziness of hiking 45 miles in one day. The most either one of us had hiked in one day was 35 miles, so we really exceeded our own records. At 3am, September 20th, both of us reached our goal. I completed a childhood dream, I thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail BECAUSE I SAID I WOULD!

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