Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Good Stuff at the end of your Comfort Zone

Day 144-146:

I cannot remember the last time I have experienced such wet, bitter coldness. I was even shivering in all my layers inside my down sleeping bag last night. By 7am I was up and ready to roll and set out on my own as the other hikers weren't ready yet.
At the Rainy Pass parking lot, I met Ranger Jan and Kokopelli who had both decided to end their hike 62 miles before the end, each for their own reasons. It seemed such a pity but Ranger Jan asked me to write that they were at the finish in spirit in the monument register. 

The rains stopped and the day actually got sunny and I met weekend backpackers Steve and Chuck and had lunch with them at Cutthroat Pass, sitting on a rock drying out my tent overlooking spectacular scenery.

The trail then hugged the mountainside until Methrow Pass and then dipped into a cold, damp forest.

I set up camp at Brush Creek at 6:30 pm as I was feeling very cold and wanted to get into my sleeping bag after a 23mile/ 37 km day. PCT hiker, Lumber appeared at 7pm and thankfully camped nearby. Only 42.7/ 68.7 km miles until the end of the trail!


Day 145:

From Brush Creek I climbed the switchbacks up another mountain giving me great vistas before Harts Pass. 

Once I reached Harts, I felt emotionally, physically and mentally depleted. No-one was at the pass when I arrived except for a ranger who told me to go along the road to the trailhead. I misunderstood his directions and hiked a couple of miles down the incorrect road. Instinctively I wasn't feeling good about the directions and when I saw a truck approaching, I flagged it down to ask them if they knew where the trail was. They told me that I was on the wrong road and became my trail angels by driving me back up the road to the correct trail access. Not only did they rescue and help me but also showered me with trail magic in the form of treats and fruit and helped me feel a whole lot better. Thank you so much Greg, Ryan and Rachel Christensen!


Continuing north bound I started running into PCT hikers who had already finished but opted to hike back 30 miles from the monument at the border to Harts Pass instead of entering Canada. 
It was awesome seeing Hotpants, Guy on a Buffalo and Shimiko again and congratulations to them.
It's my last night sleeping on the PCT and I am in good company with Sad Fish, Happy Feet, Cloud Trousers aka Bird Bath, Lumber, Shutter, Yosemite Bear, Smoky and Goosebumps.
A bear came into our camp and Happy Feet chased it away by shouting loudly. I'm so glad I was with other hikers but I went to sleep with my mace by my side anyway.
Tomorrow I complete my journey.


Day 146:

A day I shall never forget! 
The motivation to hike fast was high and there was still a fair amount of climbing before the big plunge down to the monument. 

It really felt like no man's land out here, wild and rough with awesome vistas out there on the horizon which went on forever.

The weather forecast was for rain and snow tonight and I watched the sky filling with clouds as the day progressed.
Most of my hiking today was with Sad Fish and Shutter and we reached the monument at the Canadian border around 3pm. 

What an incredible feeling I experienced on arrival at the end. Clapping and cheering from the hikers who had arrived there earlier but were lingering to savor the moment. 

To my absolute joy, Pippen, Stringcheese and K2 where there. I had spent many special moments with them throughout my journey and it was meaningful to be at the monument with them.

Stringcheese had brought along some fun inflatable suits to wear at the finish, so I put on the sumo wrestler and Sad Fish wore the horse. We were all rolling around with laughter.



Soon, Topshelf, Banjo, Smoky and Goosebumps arrived and I was able to get a group photo with these awesome people I had hiked with at the end, including Sad Fish and Shutter.

Another amazing person to be at the finish was Cloud Trousers who potentially saved me on day two of the trail simply by showing up at the abandoned campsite at Boulder Oak when I found myself alone there, being watched by a creepy man in a truck who left when Cloud Trousers arrived. Another one of my angels.

Well done to everyone else there at the finish, all very special people.
The drizzle started again and I did not want to spend another night in a cold, wet tent, so I hiked out into Manning Park resort in Canada, making it a 27 mile/ 43.5 km day.  

It was dark and rainy when I arrived at the resort lodge and that night the higher elevations in the last section of trail did get some snow, while I snuggled in a nice warm, comfortable bed.
Tomorrow I catch a bus to Vancouver and then go on to a week of celebration and R&R in Seattle with Josh who is meeting me there.
Wow! What an epic adventure! What a journey! Thank you PCT for providing me with the chance to experience life in this manner.
The good stuff happens at the end of your comfort zone.

6 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I have enjoyed experiencing your journey vicariously through your blogging and thank you for sharing! Celebrate this wonderful accomplishment! Much aloha to you!

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  2. Thank you for coming along with me on my adventure Marian. Life is always more enjoyable when shared.

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  3. I followed along too. You were always so positive the whole way, unlike others. Congrats on finishing.

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  4. What a special moment & cheers to an amazing journey! Campo to Canada- you did it! Absolutely admirable Heather! Hugs , light & love! Enjoy Seattle !!!!

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    1. Thank you so much Sasha for being a very important part of my adventure! Forever Grateful.

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