2646.7 to 2653.1, 6.4 miles plus 8
Wow! What a blur of a day. With only 6 miles to border it was all over before the day really began. Mission accomplished… finally!
I’ve been obsessing over these last few miles for far too long.
From Hopkins Lake it was pretty much all down hill to the border. I had a spring in my step this morning and just about ran in spots.
Some of the trail was overgrown and the encroaching veg wet which meant I was wet but who cares on a day like today.
Much of the trail was a green corridor through the trees with the odd glimpse of the mountains on the Canadian side. Quite a few wind blown trees across the trail as well.
It was really exciting to reach the final end point but not too emotional this time, more relief than anything in having some closure of this PCT project of mine. Had I reached this point last year as planned I’m certain I would have broken down.
Nearing the border there is an obvious straight clear cut line demarcating the boundary between the US and Canada. Once this is in view, you turn a couple of corners and there it is… monument 78 in a small clearing and the northern terminus of the PCT.
Running into the clearing I gave out a huge holler at reaching this point. A couple of flippers, Joe Kool and Domatello, we’re sitting off to the side having camped near the monument overnight and shared in my joy, offering deep felt congratulations. We chatted for a bit about different trails. Both guys were Appalachian Trail veterans and were interested in hearing about Te Araroa. Then they were off south bound to finish their hikes.
What more can be said? Trail finished, sort of. Still another 8 miles on the Canadian side to reach Manning Park, my exit point to civilisation and onto a more sedate car touring holiday.
The trail out was painful. I really did not want to walk anymore but had no choice and didn’t enjoy it as much as I should, my thoughts racing at what I’d just completed and looking ahead to what’s next and how I would get out of Manning Park.
I don’t believe in fate but might just change my mind.
On the walk out I bumped into Kathy, a hiker headed into the monument in the opposite direction. We stopped for a chat on the trail and it turns out she walked 1000 miles of the PCT this year before pulling out and just wanted to see the northern monument. She asks how I’m getting to Vancouver and I say I don’t really know, probably by hitching. As fate would have it, she is camped not far from Manning Park with a friend who’s out riding for the day and offers a ride into Vancouver the next day as she is headed to the airport. Awesome! But I say I’ll try to hitch first, probably to Hope and then catch a bus into the big smoke, as I don’t like to burden anyone. We exchange numbers and head our separate ways. We text through the afternoon and Kathy offers to pick me up if I’m still on the road hitching when she returns from her hike and take me to their camp ground for the night and into Vancouver the next day.
Reaching Manning Park was just a matter on putting one foot in front of the other. I grabbed a burger for lunch, filled my water bottle and headed to the side of the Hwy to hitch. It was a fairly easy hitch and I only waited for about 15 minutes before being offered a ride with Dan and Patty. The conversation flowed the whole way into town. They dropped me near a bunch of hotels and that was it, time to put my feet up and plan ahead to what’s next.
The Next Day…Fate
The timing of the final leg of this trip couldn’t have been better. As I got back into reception Vicky who helped me out last year messaged to say great timing as there was a new fire only 3 miles from Stehekin started by lightning the other day. Who knows how it will grow and how it may impact the PCT.
My plan to get to Vancouver from Hope was to catch a bus, well several really. It was going to take 5 hours but fate steps in again. While waiting for the first bus I thought I’d get a coffee and make use of the wifi at McDonalds. I’m sitting there sipping away and I hear “Mick?”. It’s Kathy. They had just driven through the drive through and saw me there. Of course the offer of a ride is still there and I jump in. Perfect. Amazing. Awesome. Fate for sure.
Dwain (the driver) and Kathy had collected two other PCT hikers along the way. I cram my pack in the back jump in the back seat and we share so many stories from all our lives on the way into Vancouver. The other hikers were Alex and Sulver? Like some many other people I’ve met on trail over the last 12 months, such generosity was shown by complete strangers. Thank you so much Kathy for helping hiker trash like us out. You’re a legend!
And so another chapter closes.
Thanks all for reading and following along on another journey.