Well, quite a bit of time has passed between the end of the trail and now. I reached the Canadian border on September 21st, 147 days after I began at the Mexican border.
The Love Train was all there to celebrate at the border together, and boy did we celebrate! I had always thought that my time at the northern terminus would be filled with quiet reflection about the past five months that I had spent on the trail. The reality was quite different, and I have no regrets about that. I was around some of the most magnificent people that I’ve ever met in my life, and I’m lucky to have them all there at the end. It helped immensely that most of them were feeling the exact same emotions as I was--we acted like a support group for each other for thousands of miles and continued to do so until the end (and will probably still be supportive as long as I know them!) In an amazing PCT coincidence, I met most of the people I ended the trail with within the first few days. I met Zen and Wampus Cat within the first few days, I ate dinner with Hallmark and Yankee Son on the second day of the hike, I bonded with Cookie and Snausage in the creation of the Wolf Pack on the third night, and I met up with Oasis and Honey Bear at the Kick-Off celebration! Really everyone but the Gay Caballeros (Pan, Seano and Dionysius—three of the most wonderful people I met on trail, even though I knew them for a little less than a week) had been around me since the desert in the very beginning.
Here is a photo of all of us posing in front of Monument 78 on the Canadian border:
(From the top: Zen, Wampus Cat, Chimp, Snausage, Spud, White Bear, Pan, Seano, Dionysius, Mufasa, Histo, Yankee Son, Hallmark, Cookie, Oasis, Honey Bear)
The two hardest things about being done with the trail have been being separated from the group of people who you have been around for most of the trail (for me that is especially true of Oasis, Honey Bear, Cookie and Histo), and not having the same routine of hiking, eating, and sleeping that I have been accustomed to for months. Even though it has been a number of weeks since I finished, I still feel such a close connection to the trail—it feels like I should start hiking again after having a few days off. Paradoxically, it also feels like the trail never actually happened. I’ve talked to a few friends who also hiked, and they feel similarly.
I was planning on writing a long blog entry about the experiences that I had on the trail that meant the most to me, but the further I get away from the trail the harder it is to put those things into words. The entire experience has become so personal that many of the most memorable experiences that I had are completely ineffable. It’s unfortunate that I can’t share more, but words seem to fail me when people ask me about the journey. Before the trip when I would read the journal entries of people who have previously hiked the trail, there had been a dramatic drop off in writings near the end of the trail and afterwards. I had never understood why, but now I realize that most people probably go through the same mindset as I have been going through. All I know is that I miss it—I honestly would rather be hiking the trail more than anything. I know that this isn’t a substitute for the Pacific Crest Trail, but at least Histo and I will be meeting up to backpack on the Lost Coast tomorrow! Hopefully that will ease some of the feelings we have been having. I can’t wait.
I want to thank everyone who has put up with this inconsistent blog that I have been writing—it’s a skill that I have not quite yet mastered, unfortunately. I have had the support from a huge number of people, and it is so wholeheartedly appreciated. Having the mental and emotional stamina to complete this trip was thanks to the people back home who I know supported me through all of it. Again, thank you.
I might update this blog again at some future date, but for now this signifies the end of my journey.
And now, without further ado, some photos from Washington!
Entering Washington with the sun in my eyes.
Honey Bear and Oasis cross over the Bridge of the Gods.
Histo and I love signs!
I had Mt. Adams at sunset all to myself.
The moon and sunrise over Mt. Saint Helens
Johnny and Erica came and visited us at Snoqualmie Pass!
The beginning of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness... and the beginning of our two days of rain.
Histo and Snausage show off their rain gear.
I... show off my rain gear.
Fording a river because the bridge was out.
Peaks on a frosty morning.
A bit of the trail with Glacier Peak (I think) in the background.
Glacier Peak Wilderness, one of the better views on the trail.
Mica Lake... it was as cold to jump into as it looks.
Histo and Mufasa walking to the Stehekin Bakery (where dreams come true) first thing in the morning.
Lake Chelan in the town of Stehekin.
The trail with Canada far in the distance.
Our last sunset.
Zen and Wampus Cat survey our perfect last campsite.
Sunrise over Canada.
We finally caught up to Train, the man who hiked in 26 different wedding dresses!
Honey Bear, Oasis and Cookie leading the way on our last few miles to the border.