So I’ve done it. I have actually walked all the way up the west coast of America. I’m obviously a little stunned by this all so it may take a little time for my brain to settle down and deal with it all.
The night was the worst I’ve experienced on the trail (except maybe the second night, when it snowed). The rain was going non-stop and the sudden wind gusts were really worrying. Several times I heard a dramatic flapping from the direction of Lucky Joe’s tarp. One of his poles had collapsed and he was having one hell of a night. A small river formed across his ground sheet, pooling around his shoulders and a frog had decided to join him for comfort.
It quietened down in the early hours and I got just a little bit of sleep. I awoke to a calmer world and set off up the hill after breaking the ice off my tent.
The last few days have been tough and it’s still kicking us in the arse. It was snowing and the clouds swirled up the slopes, over and beyond me. Lucky Joe wasn’t far behind and we were both shivering the whole time. I was dragging my poles with my fingers balled up in my fists just staving off complete numbness.
When we could see far enough around us it was a beautiful scene with a light dusting of snow on the rocks, the bushes and the oh-so familiar trail. Woody Pass was nothing like you’d expect and only worth mentioning because that was the point the snow got even stronger. It did eventually abate, and there were even sunny moments. All the while I was doing the sums and counting down our miles. I wasn’t thinking about the end, how far we’d come, how this was not just a town stop. I was just measuring the miles I had to walk and the time I wanted to be done by. I’ll be relieved when that is just memory. Soon we overtook the Noodleheads and emerged into a clear-cut. Then I saw it.
The line running down the hill. 20ft wide and running west to east it was the border. In four short switchbacks I was there, whooping and hollering. I even broke out a little dance.
We spent a while doing the usual. Taking photos, signing the book, reading who else had passed this way and finally getting around to lunch. A german couple came in from the Canadian side. They’d walked in the eight miles and were surprised to see people already there.
With the festivities over we began the final walk. It was eight miles to the road and a 1,000ft climb made it feel just like home. Nothing had really changed yet. We were still in the woods, still marching and still getting rained on. It didn’t matter though. We were done, the real world waited for us at the road.
Easy, Lizard, Samurai Joe and Monty were at Manning Park and left not long after we arrived. We four got a room at the lodge and have begun our cleansing. That shower felt so good. The dirt left me and I shall not stink that much for a very long time. My feet have dried and I’ve called home. The adventure is over, now it’s re-entry.
Quote of the day: “Have you come far?” The german tourist
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