CDT mile 2632.6, miles hiked 8.5
I lay awake looking at the roof above us and the pitch black outside. My mind was racing about the big finish today, and the excitement made it hard to sleep like, I was like a child on Christmas morning. I finally fell back asleep and then woke at 7 am, now that’s sleeping in. I put on my sopping wet cold socks, shoved them in my wet shoes and told myself that was the last time I had to do that for a while. I went and got our food bags from the pole, came back to the shelter and made some coffee, and pitched from my pack what I could, packed up and hit the trail for our last day.
The sky was blue for the first time in days, and we could see the mountain tops all covered in fresh snow. It was a glorious day and we smiled knowing that the past few days of suffering in bad weather were over and we were being rewarded for our final miles. We stopped by the lake for a few pictures and then hit the CDT and the final 4.5 miles to the border.
The trail took us along the lake a massive beast of deep blue water surrounded by steep peaks. We pushed through wet brush, slogged through mud and talked for a few minutes about the next chapters of our lives. The conversation soon waned and we walked in silence each of us processing the end, wow it’s really ending and we walked as if the trail was carrying us. We saw the peninsula which is the border took a deep breath and approached the end.
One last CDT marker was there on a trail sign and across from it, the monument stood, a lonely obelisk stating the US/Canada border. I walked over to the monument touched it with my hand and wrapped my body around it and gave it a big hug. At last, my end was here, no tears, no screams of joy, just peace, happiness and the feeling of a job well done and hard-earned.
I walked back to Tatu-Jo, put his double triple crown upon his head and he walked over and ended his hike. Between the Appalachian Trail and the CD, he had just completed 5,000 miles in 6 months. He also is one of only 6 or 7 double triple crown hikers and the first person ever to walk the AT and CDT northbound in one season, a major accomplishment.
IPA’s I had packed down from Many Glacier were cracked in celebration. We took photos galore, then sat down to reflect on our journey. As we were getting ready to walk the 4 miles to the Canadian trailhead to meet our ride, Tatu-Jo thanked me for hiking with him and told me it was a pleasure to be together the past 800 miles. We made a good team and had some great times along the way and I hope we share a piece of trail together sometime in the future.
We took off along the lakeshore and quickly got some distance between us. It was nice for the last 4 miles to walk in silence each of us deep in our own thoughts. I contemplated all I had done, laughed aloud at the fun times with the boys in New Mexico and smiled about the times with Cheesy walking endless miles in the high country. I reflected on my solo stretch and how much I grew in such a short amount of time. I thought of going home, hugging Suzy, playing ball with Karluk and eating seafood on the beach. I dreamed of my future adventures, the trails I want to hike, somehow earning my triple crown and how I would make a living in this new chapter in life.
I hit the Bertha Falls trailhead and there stood Steve Jones our ride back to East Glacier. We loaded up, called customs to declare ourselves in Canada and then started back to the border. I saw Smelly Jesus standing on the side of the road with his thumb out. I rolled down the window and yelled “smelly” we loaded him up and we all drove to Chief Mountain and the US crossing. A quick trip through customs and an hour later we were back at Brownie’s. Wow in just a few days from here I had covered 105 miles, finished the CDT and made my dreams a reality.
The CDT is now a part of me for life. I will forever carry the scars of her on my butt cheek from my fall into Creede. I’ll be ravaged by dreams of waking up to the Milky Way, walking endless ridges and smiling at the gift of walking at human speed from one end of this country to the other. The CDT has made me stronger in both physical and mental strength and I plan to use its lessons going forward in life to make the world a better place.
Thank you CDT! I love you and always will…
To all of you who have followed along my journey thank you for taking the time to read about my daily grind. I appreciate you dealing with spelling errors and typos from blogging on my phone after long days of walking. Your encouragement and comments were a constant source of help to keep me going. I encourage all of you to help protect Americas wilderness and wild places. Please write to your congress and senate reps pushing them to support wilderness areas, the national scenic trail systems, the USFS and the National Parks. If you want to help future hikers please support CDTC with a donation and membership, their hard work makes the lives of us hikers easier with new tread and signage.
In the coming weeks I’ll be writing about my re-entry to society, gear reviews of the items I used, and musings about my thoughts on hiking culture, new dangled ways to navigate and life in general.
Until next time, may the wind be at your back and for god’s sake try to keep the feet dry.
What a great ending to a hike that brought you so many different emotions! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us out here in cyberspace. May your re-entry be softly cushioned. IOU a bear hug at the Gathering!
It was a heck of long run, but a great one. Still readjusting to being back home but trying to take things in stride. Look forward to seeing you in 2 weeks.