At long last, suddenly we are here

PCT miles 2651.3 to 2663.5 – Castle Pass to Manning Provincial Park – Total PCT miles 2663.5

This morning Roo, Chilidog, Seahorse and I started out from Castle Pass, just a few miles from the US-Canadian border. We knew this was our last day on the trail. Our conversations and our rhythm of walking matched our anticipation. We felt on the verge of a great accomplishment. Joyful. Excited. Eager.

We walked into a clearing, mid-conversation and stopped in our tracks. Silent. Smiles spreading across our faces. Before us was our first view of the mowed-over 20 or so foot strip that slices the sub-alpine forest to denote the dividing line. The border. The end.

The northern terminus of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail was just a few switchbacks away.

We heard whoops ringing up from Monument 78. The cheers of Pepe Lopez, Boots and Bubbles. Friends who’d reached the border the night before and camped out to take pictures in the morning light. Chilidog and Seahorse ran ahead to join our fellow thru-hikers.

I slowed down, wanting to savor the final steps and enjoy the last minutes before the culminating moment. To breath in the cold morning air of this chilly, shaded valley. To admire the delicate pattern of frost crystals on leaves. To fully imprint the feeling of the trail beneath my feet.

And yet, I was so excited I had to fight my need to rush ahead. So I’d pause. Savor. Breath deep. Snap a photo. Run up to Gabriel. He who calmly, steadily kept an even gait-just as he’d done every day of this journey.

A few more steps through the tunnel of Pacific silver fir and we were at the abrupt edge of the mowed strip that bisects Castle Creek valley. The end and the beginning. We crossed hand in hand into Canada.

Then began the ritual of photos, cocoa and celebrations that await PCT hikers when they reach the end of the trail. Our celebration included our last two cinnamon gummy bears.

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5 thoughts on “At long last, suddenly we are here

  1. Stephanie says:

    Wow, this post gave me the shivers. What a wonderful feeling and joyous moment. It must have really been bittersweet also to know this journey was coming to an end. But I love that you stopped thinking ahead to the finish-line, and remembered to savor the present moment even at this huge turning point: the feel of the trail under your feet, the frost on the leaves . . . Beautiful! I also learned this and many other lessons on my journey, but it can be hard to remember to practice it when you come back to your “real life”. 🙂 Congratulations again, Lindsay and Gabriel!

  2. Kellie Morrill says:

    Stephanie says it perfectly. I know that when I reach the Monument this year, I’ll be thinking of your words and remember to savor the final steps of what will be an incredible journey. It was wonderful to meet you at the Pacific Crest Trailside Reader book reading and I look forward to reading all about your journey!

    • Marmot says:

      Kellie, so glad your preparations for this season are coming together. I know it’s a busy month of last minute check offs, box stuffing and logistics…but it’ll all be worth it when life is simple on the trail. Plus, your food looks delicious! I’ll be looking forward to following your travels along the trail this year and hope to time some WA trail magic when anticipated hikers are coming through. Happy Kick Off! Happy Trails! Love Life!

  3. Nathan says:

    Thanks for posting all these blog entries of your journey! Such amazing details about your trip.

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