Day 167: The End

September 28, 2017: Hiked Miles 956.1 to 942.5 (13.6 total)

Colton shook me awake around 6:30 to another cold morning. I was so warm and comfy and felt like I could have slept for hours. But he was freezing and couldn’t sleep and I suppose we do have to actually finish this trail. I suppose we could have camped out in Yosemite Valley for awhile, but the point of thru-hiking is actually to finish at some point. 

I pulled myself out of my sleeping bag and managed to eat without feeling sick for once. What a relief. Of course, it’s the last day on the stinking trail when I finally feel better. Better late than never!

The morning was icy cold, one of those ones where the only way to warm up is to start hiking. 

We started off on a good climb out of the canyon we slept in and I was pleasantly surprised how much easier hiking is when you don’t feel like death. We crested the mountain and then walked through a beautiful meadow for a few miles that warmed our faces and our hearts. 

We ran into our trail friend, Cole, who we had camped with back in Oregon. He’s doing the whole trail southbound and we just happened to run into him again here. We had a great few miles walking with him and hearing about how his journey has evolved. 

Eventually the trail started to look a little familiar and we realized that we had made it back to the part we had hiked into months ago before turning around due to the high water. 

We made it down to the Glen Aulin bridge which was the broken bridge we were forced to backtrack/swim across to get out last time. 

The water was about 15 feet higher when we came through back in June.

Then we came to the lower of the two Tuolumne River bridges that we practically died swimming across last time.

The difference in the water depth was almost unbelievable. 

The river looked like a nice creek and not the raging river we had seen.

Tuolumne Falls was not even recognizable. Last time we walked by the river was so wide thst we were getting soaked from the spray of the falls. This time, I didn’t even think we were in the same place because the water was so far away from the trail. 

The next bridge over the river was the same. Completely exposed compared to having water running over it last time. 

The river actually looked like something you could swim in.

We had a great rest of our hike out, walking through familiar terrain…just a bit dryer this time. 

Last time we came through, this creek was up to my crotch:

We made it to the homestretch and got a few more views of mountains to finish off our hike. 

And then we saw Lembert Dome and knew the highway was only minutes away.

And before we knew it, we were back in civilization.

And just like that, our hike was done. And what was the first thing we did? Fist-pumped each other and got excited to see real outhouses. True hiker trash, we are. 

The parking lot was packed with cars and day hikers and more vehicles going our way than we ever have hitching out of the mountains. Such a difference from having the whole valley to ourselves a few months ago. We hitchhiked for about 10 minutes before we got a ride from a nice couple from Oakdale. They just happened to be going up to Sonora Pass, the same place we were headed. We were pretty excited because we expected to have to hitch three different times to get back to the car. 

We had some amazing views driving out Tioga Pass.

It was such a blessing to be able to drive the whole way out this time, instead of our 8-mile uphill roadwalk we had to do last time. 

Luckily, our new friends were hungry as well and we stopped in Lee Vining for lunch. My stomach finally decided it liked food again, thank goodness, and I was able to eat half a French dip and some fries without feeling sick. 

We passed the beautiful and full Mono Lake on the way up the highway.

And had a great car ride talking to the couple. 

Luckily they drove really slow up Sonora Pass road and I didn’t get carsick from all the crazy curves. They dropped us off at the top, we thanked them immensely and then we got in the truck and headed right back down the way we came. 

We’re heading down to So Cal to Colton’s grandparents’ house so we got back on 395 and saw all the gorgeous sights one last time. It was so fun to drive though all these familiar towns and be able to see all the mountains we spent our summer hiking through. 

Here’s part of the fun switchback drive down to Lone Pine we took from the trail:

The drive was long and we didn’t get to their house until after 11:00. We took a much needed hot shower and enjoyed crawling into a warm comfy bed. 

The trail is over for us for this year. We have done all that we can do. The fire closures in Oregon and Washington are still closed so we will have to wait until next year to finish those parts. It’s been a crazy journey and I am so glad that I got to experience it and spend a whole summer hiking and sharing it with you guys. I didn’t expect my blog to reach as many people as it did, especially total strangers. Connecting with all of you had been such a blessing and has made the journey so much more meaningful. 

If there is anything I could hope to accomplish with this blog it is one, to hopefully inspire others to hike the trail, and two, inspire others to follow their dreams. I tried to respond to all your emails and comments and questions along the way, but now that I have more time and access to internet, please email me if you have any questions or comments regarding hiking the trail, hiking in general, or anything really. My passion is connecting with people and helping them and I would love to be able to do that in any way and pay something back to this incredible community that has helped us complete this trail. I hope that someday I will get to meet all the amazing people in person that I have met throughout this blog. I will probably do a couple more blog posts in the near future detailing all my gear for the trail and life after the trail, but for now I’m going to take a bit of a break, relax, and ease myself back into society. 

Remember, life is about following your passion. Do WHATEVER you have to, to make that happen. Believe me, it’s worth it. And you can do it. This is the time. 

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22 thoughts on “Day 167: The End

  1. THE END. And a beautiful ending you described. However, the middle section of being sick I wondered why you were putting yourself through this. But you always push through and get better. I’ve told many about the fabulous PCT this summer and I guess working through sickness is an encouragement on many fronts. I may never understand though. The laugh of this section was Colton saying “hey bear”. I would be the one running. Best wishes as you head back to the life that you make it. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Each year, I follow the postings of one selected couple as they hike the PCT. I am glad that this year I decided to follow the two of you. What an amazing adventure. Thank you both for all the sharing and so many great photos. I really enjoyed reading and following all the pictures. You are two great people. I hike section(s) of the PCT in the Sierras each year. Normally about 75 to 100 mile sections. Love that trail. Best wishes to you both. Greg / Carson City, NV.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sad to see it end but I’m happy for you both. I looked forward every night to reading your posts and see where you’d been. Good luck! Hope to catch your blog of the missing OR and WA parts next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I believe Skittles and Zebra will continue to inspire all of us. I enjoyed this part of their journey through life and hope they continue to enjoy and inspire not only themselves but all whom they meet. May God bless you both and us all!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yours was one of three PCT blogs I chose to follow this year, and it quickly became my favorite, not only because you were the only one that didn’t quit, but because your photos and regular posting meant I could follow along in real time. I loved spending my mornings before work drinking coffee and reading your adventures from the past few days. Congratulations on finishing, and enjoy some much-deserved time off, but I hope you will continue to write about transitioning back to life after the trail. After all, your journey will continue to shape you for a long time. Thank you so much for taking us along! I’m pretty bummed it’s over, and will miss reading about the trail every week.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, please keep us posted on when your digestive system starts working properly. You know when you are able to eat healthy food. Ha! When you start to put meat back on your bones, a picture update would be nice. I would also like to know if Colton gets on with the police dept. (I think thats what he was going for) and what career path you choose. Pretty much ditto what all the others said. Good luck to you both and I hope to see you in the desert if you visit Jayme and Roland.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations. You did it. Over twenty six hundred miles with forty pounds on your back. Through rain sleet and snow. Over a hundred and below freezing temperatures with and without wind, and countless summits. Thirty plus mile days. I am in awe and super impressed. You guys are the bomb. Thank you for taking me, us along.
    I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jenn & Colton,

    While we followed your epic adventure from the cheap seats, I imagine only you two will really ever know what you had to do to accomplish this feat. I tip my hat to the both of you. Hiking the PCT should be considered an extreme sport. Colton, thank you for sticking with Jenn and not bailing after six-weeks, as you originally planned. I am certain that you being there helped her stay safe. Having known you and coached you, I appreciate your integrity and work ethic.

    Jennifer, you never surprise me in anything you tackle, not even this. I know your toughness first-hand. I can remember you playing catcher in softball, in a black uniform, and fainting behind the plate during a double-header due to the heat. I had asked you if you wanted to come out and you said no. Same thing at a sectional track meet in high-school one year, on the ground being drenched in ice-water one minute and then up and running your next race, the next minute. You are an inspiration to many.

    It was more than a “little girl hiking a little trail”. It was the journey of a lifetime. Thanks for doing such a great job sharing it with us, it played out like an adventure novel in real time. The original Sierra posts were “can’t stop reading”. So, what’s next?

    dad

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jenn & Colton,

    My husband and I were supposed to hike the JMT this past summer (late June/early July). I started reading your blog as I wanted to get updates on the snow conditions in the sierras. Well, we ended up cancelling our trip but I have kept up on your journey. I am from SoCal and have been wanting to do the PCT for over 25 years – I even have the old PCT trails books. You have inspired me to seriously start planning my own PCT Thruhike. Thanks for the great updates and awesome pics.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jenn (& Colton), It was such a pleasure following along with the two of you through your hike. Thanks for taking the time and sharing the journey. I am glad you are feeling better! I hope the next adventure is coming for the two of you soon. Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations, Jenn and Colton! I looked forward to your updates -‘great photos and commentary. My son was a few days behind you on the trail. I was able to pass along some tips! You made me look really good!

    Best wishes for your next chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations on finishing your epic adventure. I get a great deal of vicarious pleasure from reading trail blogs and yours was the best of the bunch for 2017. Your positive attitude, wry humor, and fine photography made your blog entertaining and informative.

    Meeting both of you and your mothers at Etna Summit was a high point of my hike this summer. When you described yourself as “just a little girl” I thought you were being modest but when I actually met you, it reminded me of the time I met Jane Fonda. You were both more petite than I had imagined. No wonder you needed to wear knee braces to carry your load. You must have been packing nearly half your body weight when fully resupplied with food and water. And if you really went for a swim in Paradise Lake, you are tougher than I imagined. When I stepped into that puddle and sank deep into the primordial ooze, I changed my mind about trying to swim there and settled for a rinse in the outlet.

    If you condensed your blog posts and photos into a book, it would be a great addition to the literature of the PCT. I hope to enjoy more of your literary efforts in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great hike! Great blog! I put off reading the final posts because I didn’t want it to end. Gear reviews are often helpful and I would be interested to hear how your transition back into this other world goes. Post-trail depression is a real thing and I don’t think enough people talk about it, or ways to deal with it.

    Congratulations and thanks for taking the time to write such an awesome blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. We certainly enjoyed your adventure. Could feel all the highs and lows from adventures we had years ago. I would love to see a collection of your favorite spots from each leg of the trip as I am a water color painter and would like to take inspiration from those special places. Each rock and tree and sunny brook make a moment of happiness. The trail is like John Muir said, something like “great is granite and Yosemite is its cathedral.”

    Thanks again for sharing your special moments with all of us old timers who love the mountains and the peace they inspire.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for being so dedicated to keeping up your blog. I am so impressed. We really loved reading it and your spirit and determination were an inspiration. Your photos were fantastic and we relived many happy moments from our time in the Sierras.

    Liked by 1 person

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