Mile 2636 to mile 2650
My tent is blowing nearly flat in some of the gusts and the rain is pelting the rainfly, but I’m cozy and dry inside. Morning is coming on though and it’s the last day on the PCT so I’m wide awake as I let this fact sink in. The rain has let up slightly, and obviously temporarily, so I pack up as darkness fades to light. My bag is light once again as I’ve eaten much of the food down, though I’m still carrying a half liter of wine to celebrate with at the border (I wanted whiskey but Stehekin isn’t exactly Edinburgh Scotland). I put my poncho on as the rain picks back up slightly and I head down the trail looking for the others.
Three miles later I come across Teton, Hangman, Smilin’ and Baby still in their tents and I start making noise and being obnoxious (it’s a gift). Terrence shows up and then Team Truckee. Everyone is giddy. Everyone is weird. These are definitely my people and I’ll miss them, I already know it and I know they’ll miss me too – friendship.
We’re off just after 8:00 and it’s only ten miles to the border from here. It goes fast as we descend from the ridge into the forest and finally come to a small clearing. Actually it’s not small, it’s just narrow but it stretches across the northern boundary of the US to mark the border. A perfectly straight gap in the trees marking the longest unsecured border in the world. The wooden monument marking the end of the trail for us Northbounders sitting in this gap, a US flag on one side and a Canadian flag on the other. It has been such a long journey, difficult, wonderful in the very truest sense of that word in that it filled me with so much wonder every day. I walked up into the group of happy hikers, handed my phone to someone, stood on the monument for my photo and then opened my wine and joined the others in toasts, hugs, high-fives (bros broing out? Nope) and a whole lot of “I can’t believe we’ve finished”.
The Truckee Trio bid farewell and began walking back south to Harts Pass with promises to meet at Christmas. I don’t doubt we will. The rest of us walked a half mile into Canada and set up tents in the rain, Baby opting to walk the final nine miles to get Luna dry. It wasn’t a social evening as the rain kept everyone sheltered in their tents with only their own thoughts. I slept in fits as my mind began digesting everything from the past six months.
I felt so weak and so strong at the same time. I felt like a refinement of the little Truckee kid who had been shaped by a world of experiences.
And then I began dreaming of the next adventure. And I dreamed of introducing my own child someday to this beautiful and amazing world.