LAST NIGHT ON THE TRAIL
PCT Day 149: Mile 2613.8- Mile 2641.7
Friday September 9, 2016: 27.9 miles (44.6 km)
I awoke to the most magnificent morning, there were no clouds in the sky and the sun was just rising. It was cold and when I looked at the tent fly it was frosted over, which is actually better than condensation as it can be removed more easily. The trail was also frosty and made a real crunch as you walked over it.
The view was sensational with the mountains on display in all their glory. The 9 days of wet feet were completely forgotten as I savoured the stunning view. The sky was so clear I could see Mount Rainer in the background, while Glacier Peak and the other peaks of the Cascades made up the foreground.
On the way to Harts Pass there were a lot of rock cairns that had been built and one even looked like Darth Vader.
At Harts Pass the trail and instructions seemed a little confusing and as I was meandering around I ran into Lid from South Africa whom I had last seen at Trail Days at Cascade Locks. He had walked to the monument and like a number of others was unable to enter Canada because he had not processed the paper work. Others with criminal offence are also denied entry and so can go to the monument and then must walk back the 30 miles to Harts Pass and catch a lift to Mazama Village.
I stopped for lunch further along the trail and also took the opportunity to dry the tent. A brother and sister came by on a day walk and the brother was very interested in how the walk had gone and seems a prime candidate to walk the PCT it in the future.
The view continued to surprise and delight as the trail meandered through forests and over the many passes encountered today.
I met Brandon and his dog last seen at Olallie Lake and he recommended staying on top of Woody Pass. He was heading Southbound and had stayed there the previous night and said the views were sensational. So that seemed a good option. When I got to Woody Pass the sites were all taken and when I got on top it was steep both uphill and down. So I got the torch out and walked onward. The walking was pretty sensational, a half moon in the sky and a setting sun behind the jagged peaks of the Cascade mountains, life was pretty good. There were no suitable camp spots until about 9.30 and that seemed a little windy but it was time to stop. Although cloud seemed to be building it seemed appropriate to leave the fly off for the last night on the trail. I settled down into the feathery cocoon that a down sleeping bag provides. Apart from feeling like someone was tapping on my head as the wind picked up, I slept soundly.
I was finding it hard to believe it would be the last night on the trail after almost 5 months.
I can only imagine the bittersweet joy and relief you have by now experienced, along with a special group of fellow thru hikers you will never forget, gathered with you at the northern monument of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Hope to see you and Corky in Capitola at some point.
Thank you Lawrence. Look forward to catching up with you in SoCal later in the year. -HAMMER.