Saturday, February 19, 2011

There's No Place Like Home....

The Canadians continued to call the trail the PCT,
but the Canadian portion isn't officially recognized
as official PCT by any organization except the
Canadians, so far as I can tell! =)
September 21: By morning, the rain had stopped. Tree snot was still falling, but even that would taper off eventually. The brush along the trail was thoroughly wet, however, so my legs wouldn't dry out along the hike out to civilization, eight miles away.

All of the literature about the PCT has the trail ending right at the Canadian border. Even Erik the Black's maps aren't very useful beyond that point, which seems criminal since almost everyone continues on to Manning Park--the closest trailhead to the end of the trail. Those Canadians were kind enough to post a map of their side of the border at the border, however, and I took a photo of it as I passed. I also made sure it wasn't so blurry that I couldn't read it! These last eight miles or so, I was better prepared than I had been since almost the entire distance since I left Stehekin.

The rest of the miles flew by quickly. I took no breaks, except to check the map on my digital camera to track my progress and direction. For the most part, even that wasn't necessary. The trail junctions had good signage, and the distance flew by now that I was working in kilometers rather than miles. =) There's something nice about kilometers that I just really liked. I noticed little red tags attached to the trees marking each kilometer as they counted down to zero.

Near the end of the trail, the sun started peaking out. A beautiful day! But I didn't care about that anymore. I just wanted to finish. Get off the trail.

The trail finally dumped me out at a road near a bridge with a single car in the parking lot. It wasn't Amanda. Hmm.... I wasn't sure what to do at this point. I thought the trail was going to dump me out at the Manning Park Lodge, but I didn't see any buildings at all nearby. I wondered if I took a wrong turn somewhere. Which direction along the road is the lodge? That's where Amanda and I had planned to meet.

Trail junctions were well marked in Canada.
Thanks, Canada! =)
I looked around the trailhead for signage and found a temporary sign warning hikers that the trail to the US border I just took was closed due to some sort of trail damage. "That's strange," I thought. "I got through well enough and didn't notice any damage to speak of."

After examining all of the facts I had available--including the map I took a picture of--I made an educated guess and started walking along the road to the right. Eastward. It didn't take more than a few minutes before I saw a building and I was certain I had chosen wisely.

A few cars drove by, and the sun was shining bright. I wondered if the people in the cars had any idea that this homeless-looking fellow walking along the side of the road had walked in all the way from Mexico. What an adventure! I hoped Amanda would drive by looking for me and end my hike right then and there, but it was never Amanda driving. Drats.

I finally reached the lodge, and rather than walking around to the driveway, I scaled directly up a steep hillside  instead, and saw Amanda's car in the parking lot. Yes! She was there already! When I got closer, I realized she was still in the car, sleeping in the driver's seat. I knocked on the window, startling her.

"Think you can give a ride to a poor, dirty hiker?" I asked. =) Of course she could!

I threw my pack in back, and Amanda whipped out her camera to get pictures of my big finish. It seemed rather anti-climatic at this point, though. I had already finished the trail the day before! I took off my shoes and settled into the front seat. Hui and Colter were out on the front porch of the lodge and yelled hello, and I yelled back, "Whoo-who!!!! We did it!" Yes, indeed, we had. Our hike was over.

I try to take a photo of myself hiking out. And to
think, I was bald and clean-shaven when I started
this hike!
Amanda asked me if either of them needed a ride back to Seattle since that's where we were headed anyhow, and I didn't know. Maybe. *shrug* So she swung back through the parking lot and I leaned out the window asking if either of them needed a ride to Seattle. They turned us down, though, planning to go to Vancouver, and we waved goodbye and started driving home.

Amanda made a couple of stops to find letterboxes along the way, and I stayed in the car not wanting to walk two feet for even a drive-by letterbox. At that moment, I felt like I didn't want to ever walk again. I knew that feeling would go away eventually, but I basked in the glory of sitting. =)

I did get out at the entrance for Manning Park--Amanda wanted to get a photo of me with the entrance sign.

At the US border (now that I was actually in Canada, I thought of the border as the US border rather than the Canadian border), we handed over the paperwork the Canadians had sent me approving my arrival into the country on foot via the PCT. I wondered if the fact that I walked into the country at an unmanned entry point would cause issues at the border, but it didn't. The border agent asked a few questions and waved us through.

We arrived back in Seattle during the evening rush hour. I took a photo of me stepping into our little apartment. The last step. I was finally home, and this time, I didn't have to leave. =)

In Canada, the trail is marked in kilometers.
I like kilometers--I can hike them faster than miles! =)
5,259,276 Steps (estimated)
750,336 Calories burned (estimated)
75,142 Hits on this blog
13,225 M&Ms consumed (estimated)
4,833 Photos taken (by me!)
4,274 Kilometers covered
2,656 Miles covered
1,322 Bad jokes (estimated)
1,321 Good jokes (estimated)
1,224 Hits on most popular blog entry
488 Pounds of food consumed (estimated)
300 Days of blog posts (every other day)
162 Gallons of water sweated (estimated)
152 Days on the trail
109 Days of camping
35 Days of hotel/motel/hostel camping
34 Snake sightings
29 Pounds lost
12 Days of hiking in rain
12 Days of Ibuprofen 
10 Blisters
10 Zero days
10 Apples ripped in half
8 Pairs of shoes
7 Days camping in homes
3 Bears sighted
1 Naked hiker

and....

1 Pacific Crest Trail
Glad they didn't put this sign up at the border. Might have caused
me some concern if they had! =)


Searching for the lodge at Manning Park.

NOW they tell me! *rolling eyes*
Made it to the Manning Park Lodge and found Amanda.
Wow, I look skeletal!


I managed to get out of the car long enough to hobble over to this sign for
a goodbye photo.


Almost home!!!!!

Home, at last..... =)

17 comments:

=) said...

What an accomplishment! I am going to miss reading this blog but I kmow that it won't be too long before I am reading Another Long Walk story from you. Job well done!

greg said...

Congrats! and Thank You!

Is there going to be an epilogue, or an afterword, or a question and answer session, or something else? (or are we all going to have cold turkey?) :)

Okie Dog said...

Congratulations, once again, Ryan! 4,833 photos taken, and we probably only saw half of 'em, right? Just doesn't seem like we could have seen that many...but I wasn't counting, either...lots of a great photos, that's for sure, and thank you for that...and the walk...nice shoes....
OD

Anonymous said...

I have so enjoyed reading your blog...your descriptions of what you found along the way was facinating yes even the dull days...I knew peopel hiked the entire trail what I didn't know was that there was a mass start and that so many women hiked it also...not saying I will ever try it but your blog has caused me to think about the idea...thanks for sharing your adventure...I will miss it! marymac

Anonymous said...

Woohoo!!!!! :-D

Anonymous said...

Very much enjoyed reading your blog, Verde Turtle! Congratulations you've done yourself proud. Great accomplishment, and I understand why you've gotten over 75K hits on this blog. WELL DONE on both tasks you undertook!

DC Stones

mojudy said...

Great blog. I have really enjoyed reading it. I felt like I was right there on the trail with out my legs and feet being tired. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Been following this since the beginning and have been inspired. I can't shake loose enough time for the entire trail, but this summer I plan to section hike about 100 miles between Marble Crag and Etna summit with my daughter. Whats next? There's always the CDT in my neck of the woods. Thanks for the great blow-by-blow of your trek.
BlindSmiley

Phocion said...

Congratulations! This blog has been a pleasure to read. You've inspired me to tackle this hike one day. It's officially on the list. The only problem is that I have no idea what I'm going to read every other day from now on.

Ryan said...

This still isn't the last post folks. The story still isn't *quite* done.... ;o)

When I'm done posting, I'll let you know!

-- Ryan

Krista said...

Hahaha, "1,224 Hits on", at first I thought you were counting how many times you'd been hit on while hiking the trail! LOL! There's probably a count for that too.

So what next?? A vacation to some tiny trail only a few hundred miles in length?

Lindsays Snowman said...

AWESOME!! Love the stats.

Anonymous said...

So pleased this is not the last of the entries.... we don't have to go cold turkey!!!!!!

Thanks again for all you have shared... except you didn't share any eye bleach for the photo with the most hits!

Wendy

Muddy said...

Congratulations Ryan! Thank you for taking us along on this very long walk. I'm sure you didn't even notice us hiding in your pack. So what's next? West->East? Seattle to New Hampshire? We'll be waiting to greet you at the end...
~Muddy Paws

sarcasmo said...

Thanks for the virtual hikes and pictures. Congratulations!

Rabid Quilter said...

We've followed you the whole way too, Ryan in 'real time' and on the blog. Hate to see it end but since YOU enjoyed seeing it end, you win. Enjoy gaining back that 29 pounds!

Doublesaj & Old Blue

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Hmmm, I wonder what that one extra bad joke was about?

And I'm rather surprised that you only had twelve days of hiking in the rain. It sure seemed like a lot more than that.

But you know you forgot to list the number of rivers crossed and the number of trekking poles broken. And the number of trail magic opportunities. Or how many sodas drank and the number of buckles broken.

I'm betting that if you went back to Skehekin and ate thru-hiker burgers and cinnamon rolls for about 2 weeks, you'd be able to gain all of those 29 lbs back, and then some. :-D

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers

ps I do have one very important question that has been weighing on my mind for a very long time, ever since I began reading about your PCT hike, and that is:

Do you ever wash your sleeping bag while on the trail?

And if not, doesn't sinking into the stench and filth of it night after night for 5+ months, get to you? Especially after you come back to the trail from a zero day and you're all washed and cleaned up?