Day 153: Oh, Canada

September 14, 2017: Hiked Miles 2635.4 to 2650.1 and back to 2635.4 (29.4 total)

We woke up this morning around 6:00 to a very, very cold morning. We did not want to get out of our sleeping bags. So we ate breakfast inside the tent and Colton ate his laying down inside his sleeping bag. He looked just like a little kid. It was pretty cute.

Because we are hiking to the border and then back here to camp tonight before hiking out to Hart’s Pass tomorrow, we didn’t have to pack our tent up. It was a great feeling. We left most of our stuff inside our tent and just put our food, water, and some warm clothes, and our raingear into our packs. We took off hiking and Colton practically ran up the first hill with his ultralight pack. It felt great to be so light, almost like we were out on a day hike. 

The morning was freezing cold, with frost on all the grass. We had all our warm clothes on as we hiked up the hill, and I was still frozen. But luckily, it was a clear day.

We crested our first mountain peak of the day and then headed back down the other side, into the shade and wind.

We climbed down and then right back up another hill and then started making a long descent toward Canada.

The views were amazing and the cold, brisk air made the last part of the journey to the border seen that much more epic.

We talked about memories from along the way of our entire hike and how much we have changed from the beginning. It doesn’t seem like we have spent an entire five months on the trail, but the day we started in Mexico also seems like ages ago.

We sped down the mountain and dove into the thick forest, which helped to block the wind, but also kept us stuck in the shade.

We finally rounded a bend and knew we were close to the border when we could see a definite break in the trees.

And then all the sudden we were there.

Nothing crazy, as to be expected, just a monument in the middle of the woods. On the border between America and Canada. It was perfect.

We found the hidden registry, which required a little manpower.

And got to read entries from lots of our friends we have met along the way.

I felt so peaceful and happy and the moment was perfect. I can’t think of a better ending than how it was.

We took lots of pictures and celebrated our accomplishment.

Another hiker who we have flipflopped with since the Sierras gave us a couple cigars a week or so ago to celebrate with at the border. Of course they both broke in half after sitting in Colton’s backpack for so long, but we managed to salvage the end of one of them.

And then took more pictures.

We had seen some workers cutting down trees on the border when we arrived and all the sudden we heard a helicopter roter start up and watched as this insane pilot decided to show off and hovered right in front of us in the middle of a bunch of trees before taking off and giving us a flyover.

Crazy Canadians.

We finally said goodbye to the border and turned around and did what we do best…hiked.

We stopped to fill up with water and hiked a few more miles up to the sunniest spot we could find and enjoyed our last trail lunch in Washington, moving every few minutes when the shade enveloped us.

Colton got one last nap in and I blogged away and basked in the amazing warmth of the sun. 

We still had 11 miles to do after lunch so we got moving again around 3:00 and enjoyed a nice climb back up the way we came. It was kinda nice to know what the trail looked like before I got there and it was neat to experience the trail in both the cold morning and warm afternoon. 

I got ahead a bit when Colton stopped to go to the bathroom and I ran into a ranger who stopped me to ask if I had heard…. What now, I thought. And yeap, you guessed it. Fire closure! A fire that has been burning for days just east of here picked up with all the wind the past few days. And it’s burning towards Hart’s Pass which is where we are heading back to in the morning to get a ride into town. He told us the trail is still open, but the road to Hart’s Pass is closed, therefore no potential hitchhiking. And the next closest road is an additional 31 miles down the trail after reaching Hart’s Pass. Ugh. But he told us that the forest service had been shuttling hikers out throughout the day yesterday and today and should still be doing the same tomorrow. I told ya, there’s always something on this trail, right up until the very end. 

I thanked the ranger and did all I could do, kept hiking. Colton caught up to me and I relayed the info and all we could do was laugh and be happy we made it to the border when we did. Because with our experience with fires this summer, they only get worse. And I would not be a happy camper if I made it this far and then couldn’t make it to the border. 

So we counted our blessings and hiked on. We got a good view of the fire, which had definitely grown since this morning and seemed to be getting pushed pretty hard by the wind. 

We saw some more glorious mountains. 

But they were all the same views as this morning so I didn’t take many pictures. 

Instead, we passed a ton of people on the way to the border. We knew most of them which was exciting to get to see our friends one last time. We were congratulating everyone. They were congratulating us. It was like one big party out there. A party to celebrate walking a long fricken ways. Everyone who was continuing the short distance into Canada instead of turning back, wanted to make sure we had enough food in case we had to walk the extra mileage out. Hikers are seriously the best people ever. What other group of people would offer up their own food to strangers, when they themselves are probably just as famished. Amazing. We luckily do have a little extra food and the ranger had also told me they had stashed food at the ranger station at the pass, so we weren’t too worried.

We finished out the day with a steep uphill climb and when we reached the top of the pass, the wind nearly knocked us off our feet. He hustled down to our tent as quickly as possible, which was thankfully still there, and of course already set up. We did move it though, since we had slept on a slant last night and didn’t sleep very well.

We threw on our warm clothes, stretched as fast as possible, and then climbed in our tent to make dinner. Last dinner on the trail for a bit. And I still look forward to my instant potatoes and top ramen every night I’m out here. 

I think we’ll sleep well tonight after our long day. Hopefully the adrenaline of hitting the border will wear off soon. And then tomorrow it’s 16 miles out to the pass, where hopefully, we can get a ride out. But no time to worry about that now. For now, we sleep. 

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14 thoughts on “Day 153: Oh, Canada

  1. Congratulations! Thank you for diligently writing and sharing your inspiring posts and wonderful photographs. Looks like the northern terminus monuments are in need of replacement..Best of luck to the both of you as you make the difficult assimilation into post trail life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been impatiently waiting for you to reach the end of the trail and not only does the trail have have unexpected surprises but you lived up to your colorful portrayal of your hike with pictures of a monument being taken apart and a helicopter flying over nearly nowhere. I can’t imagine a tent being left behind in the wilderness only to return and find it still there. You might have found a critter had moved in. Then to experience another plan changed when wildfires continued to threaten. I’m on to read your last far north blog I presume and will await if there will be another section. I have learned a lot from you and have enjoyed each one. Thanks for my exciting journey with you. Loved it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations to you both! I’ve checked on you every night before going to sleep and have thoroughly enjoyed following your journey. Always be the dreamer and doer! Great philosophy for a happy life. Happy trails!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so excited and happy for the two of you! I hope you have many more such grand adventures! Those of us who lived vicariously thru you are very grateful for your tenacity of keeping the blog. Thanks so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have started to follow quite a few PCT thru hikers blogs but not one single one finished. They were people we usually ran into while hiking in Idylwild……so not only should you be proud of your huge accomplishment of hiking to Canada you should be very very proud of finishing (well not quite) this blog. Such an amazing job!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats for a life well lived. I was surprised just reading your blog here in my windowless building, I began to tear up a little. Your spirit always comes through in your writing. I believe I shall celebrate your accomplishment by summitting Longs Peak (14er) next week.
    Your blog has been a gift to me. In return I offer something that may be of value to you. The HU, a love song to God. (eckankar.org).
    Best wishes on the rest of your life.
    Pat

    Liked by 1 person

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