The last section! From Stehekin to the Canadian border and back to Hart's Pass; 4 days 112 miles / 179,2 km.
It is always hard to get out on trail after a zero, maybe especially after this one, but we had decided to head a last time to the bakery for breakfast and hiked quite happily the two miles up there, packs full ready for a new section and stomachs empty.
After filling our bellies one last time in the bakery we hiked out. After talking to the locals we had decided to take an alternate route up and over McAlester pass that would also give us an extra 5000 vertical feet, but hey, we love views don't we?! It was hard, legs still tired and stiff after resting the day before. It turned out to be an exhausting day with no spectacular views and mostly "BOregon" (our nickname for South Oregon) all over again and we struggled to keep the motivation up. The last few miles into Rainy pass we kept ourselves entertained by talking about food. Our favorite passtime activity. Finally at Rainy pass and the campground sucked big-time, in between the smelly outhouse and the highway. We pitched our tents and hoped the next day would bring more motivation.
The next morning we climbed out of Rainy pass and up, up, up to discover the North Cascades unfolding in all it's magnificence. A sea of mountains. Breathtaking and pristine. We just sit and take it all in. Such infinite beauty.
We have decided to push a 30 mile day and reach Hart's Pass. The day gives us so many wonderful views and the scenery is just amazing. It proves to be a long day, but our spirits are high and we talk and laugh, whistle to marmots and laugh again.
We hike into Hart's Pass quite late, happy to have found water in a creek nearby and with aching joints and feet. 31 miles/ 50 km takes it's toll but reaching camp always gives us smiling faces. We are pleased with ourselves, our first 30 turned out to be a pretty great 31 mile day. Go us!!
Since I decided to hike to the northern terminus of the PCT and don't have the PCT entry to Canada permit, I can't cross the border into Canada and Manning Park with the others. I therefore decide to leave a bunch of my gear with the Ranger at Hart's Pass and almost slackpack to the border, just bringing food and shelter, tag the monument and hike back the 30 miles again to the pass. Our plan is to hike and camp a few miles from the border, tag the monument the next morning and then part ways; my family into Canada and me heading back.
I already dread the moment of goodbye, but strive to keep myself happy and enjoy the last day. Even though I strived; there were moments of tears on trail that day.
After lunch we decide to take an alternate trail along a steep ridge to save us some vertical feet and time. We feel smart and happily stroll past the "trail abandoned" sign. It turned out that the trail was abandoned for a reason and we soon found ourselves trapped in the rocky mountainside with no trail and a too risky turnaround. With shaky feet we decide to traverse down and end up using 1,5 hour on 1 mile of trail.. Exhausted we hike on the last 10 miles to camp. Bites and Radio took the same trail, but were able to turn around before it got too bad. Smart. We were all glad to be safe and sound together in camp that night.
On our way we met a couple with their two packllamas; Llamarama and Llamakazee. Llamaazee did not like hiking and was left behind in a meadow to be picked up on their way home!
The sight of llamas made me ridiculously happy!
Alarm rang at our normal 05:00 the next morning and we packed up, last breakfast together and off towards the border. All excited and ready to get there. After an easy 3,4 miles we could see the clearcut through the forest and the monument appeared in a little clearing.
Wow! We ran and all felt the awe. It was a moment filled with feelings of accomplishment, tears of happiness and sadness. We all had reached it, Mama bear and Patchy done with over 2000 miles; now heading back to finish their miles in the Sierras, Radio and Bites finished with Oregon and Washington; now heading south to finish California southbound and me done, 1600 km in 53 days! only 30 miles left.
Pictures were taken, dancing and jumping around the monument was done, writing in the PCT register, smiling and celebrating. Then the moment was come to say goodbye. I had a long 30 miles still in front of me back to Hart's Pass. My family was heading to Manning Park.
It was an emotional moment. Maybe the hardest goodbye I have ever done. After spending all hours of the day over 1,5 month and 950 miles together it felt surreal that it was over. So many tears. So long hugs. So much love. I could never have gotten a more amazing trailfamily. Mama bear ; the most wonderful, loving, badass superwoman and Patchy; which made me laugh ridiculously every day on trail, my dearest forever friend and the kindest person I have ever had the pleasure to get to know. We have stood by each other every day, for miles and miles and I have never one minute wanted to be with anyone else. They are my family now and forever. We have shared life in it's purest form and experienced true happiness and bliss. We are forever bound together. I am beyond grateful.
My goal was reached and I hiked away with tears in my eyes. Everything felt surreal. I was soon finished.