Today we have about 24 miles from Roland Campsite to the border. Our permit had us staying at Nightmare Campsite which was another 7 miles from the border back the way we came . It was either going to be a 31 mile day or stay at Hozomeen Campsite right at the border which doesn’t require a permit, we will see how the day goes. The day went along without issues with exception of mosquitoes. They were increasingly worse as we got closer to the border, by the time we reached Hozomeen they were so bad I had to keep walking in circles to keep the swarm away. Hikers passing us headed south bound after touching the border reported how bad they were, even worse than we experienced in the Sierras. By the time we got back to the highway I stopped counting bites at 100.
Below: The old timber retaining wall has given way and is being repaired, a new cedar log sits precariously across the collapsed trail for us to cross on.
Below: Bridge at May Creek.
Below: At 2:00 pm Ferrari and Peanut Feet were heading south returning from the border. I’m putting on a happy face here but in reality I am very sad. This may very well be the last time I see these two. I met Ferrari very briefly in Etna when he offered me some ZipCare oil for my tent zipper. It wasn’t until mile 1670.7 “Dirt road & Spur to Spring” the first day outside of Seiad Valley on July 16th that I got to know him. I’ve traveled nearly 1000 miles off and on with him since then. I didn’t know until just recently that he learned English for a year before coming to hike the PCT.
Peanut Feet was relaxing on a log at TeaKettle spring 2139 when I met him. This was in the burnt area from last years Eagle Creek fire just a few miles from Cascade Locks on the Oregon side. He was to return to Germany to finish college but as of this picture says, this experience has been so wonderful that he may be changing his plans. I’ll need to catch up with him somehow to see what he decided to do.
We all exchanged goodbyes and hugged each other. Then, Ferrari mentioned how emotional he got when he touched the border. I was holding myself together pretty well up until this point, in recent weeks my mind would wander playing out today’s scenario. My eyes are getting blurry, my vocal cords are being squeezed… I’m going to cry. I thought I’d do better in this moment, in a flash I told them I had to leave and started walking, not wanting to open the flood gates in front of them….”what is going on with me” I think to myself. A hundred yards down the trail I’m now hit with regret in how I left.
Two days later when I’m at home I received this text message from Ferrari, I had to have Kelly read it to me… I got too choked up. “Hi Guys!, I wanted to let you know how grateful I have been to meet you. You are great persons and I wish you the best, you deserve it all. Even if we probably won’t meet again I feel you guys like brothers! I hope it doesn’t sound to much like a cliche but it’s what I feel! Thanks Buddies!!”
This was not cliche at all. If they are reading this I hope you know that my lack of words as I departed was instead overflowing with love, admiration, sorrow and happiness to have had our paths cross.
Above: The Ross Lake trail ended and a road walk for the last 3/4 mile.
Below: A small silver border marker is our alternative northern terminus. There is a good trail out of the picture to the right (USA) that leads up there but I chose to climb straight up this hill instead. It’s much steeper than it looks.
Bud Light, BlackHole and I each took turns getting to the border alone for a few minutes by ourselves. It’s a powerful moment.
Above: I wish you could see just how bad the mosquito’s are, it was all I could do to keep still for this photo. Bud Light did a good job keeping the camera steady as he was being swarmed too!
Below: Our trail register, I’m glad someone left this here for us to have something tangible to sign.
I had envisioned this moment to be different, sitting down at the actual PCT monument. We’ve had a few weeks to adjust our original dismay of the fire closure and decided that the terminus is wherever we touch Canada. We retreated to Hozomeen campsite by the lake with surprisingly few mosquito’s. The celebratory beer we packed out of Mazama tastes better than any I can recall, this one’s been a long time coming!
I think we have smile paralysis that will continue for a few days haha. It’s now 6:00pm and we decide to start heading back to the highway where Kelly will be picking us up tomorrow at 5pm. But first we need to make dinner! From here its 30 miles to the highway and 7 miles to Nightmare Camp. We will certainly be doing some night hiking and today will end up being 31 miles!
Above: Eating what will be one of my last Snickers bars for a long time. Notice my right shoulder sleeve. In the rush to get away from the mosquitoes it nearly tore off. I’m not sure what i snagged it on, wasn’t a branch this time.
Below: The following day at highway 20, Kelly brought us clean shirts, cheese and salami, cookies and PCT Beer made by Rainier Brewing. Evidently part of the beer purchases goes to the PCT. She also informed us that a portion of the PCT had reopened which would allow us to reach the PCT terminus at Manning Park but the ending of this trip has already been written.
What can I say so eloquently to capture this experience? There aren’t the right words or arrangement of them that could do justice for what I’ve been through on this trail. Six months ago you joined me as a solo hiker headed to a far off destination. Somewhere along the way, without me knowing, that destination became less important. At the end a realization that the people we met, the friendships formed, the struggles persevered were the music we danced to.
“We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at that end, and the thing was to get to that thing at that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.
But we missed the point the whole way along.
It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.”……..Alan Watts – Why Your Life is Not a Journey.