I began the last day of hiking this summer by engaging in a battle with my tent stake.
I woke up at 5:15 to get an early start. It was a cold and clear morning. I could tell the weather was going to be a great day. I had packed up nearly all my gear and was taking down my tent when one of my tent stakes decided that it wanted to stay in Washington. It took nearly 10 minutes to get it out of the ground and it gave me a blood blister on one of my fingers.
Once I got back on the trail, it was a beautiful! There were some clouds, but they were quickly burning off. All the rain had left quite a lot of moisture on the plants and walking on the trail quickly soaked my shoes. A couple hours into the day, I met a lady named Helium. She was on her way to the border. As we talked, she asked me if I was The Kid. I said yep, she had met my Dad as he was hiking back yesterday. She could not believe my Dad, when he said that I had fun in the Sierra’s, but it is true.
Throughout my hike today, most people could tell that I had just finished the PCT and they congratulated me. Some asked what I was going to do now? I answered “School”. They would then ask when school started? I would respond “In 4 days.” They would reply, “Not much down time.” You hear that many people get depressed after finishing a thru-hike. One lady shared that it was the lack of the daily dose of endorphins. College will be another challenge that I can throw myself into and I am looking forward to that.
I hiked without stopping until about 1:50, the weather was great. I was very happy that I could end my trip on such a beautiful day and in such a beautiful place.
At 1:50, I stopped to readjust my insole. Once I had my shoe off, a couple hiked past and said there was trail magic at Hart’s Pass. I hiked on, and about 20 minutes later I heard my Dad from just off the trail calling, “You want some trail magic?” I had nearly walked right past my Mom and
Dad. They had hiked out about a half a mile from the trailhead and brought sandwiches and some sparkling cider, along with a little cake to celebrate the end of a journey.
It was awesome and I now finally felt like I was done! I enjoyed just sitting there with my Mom and Dad eating cake while looking out over an amazing valley and the ridges beyond.
Together, we hiked back to the trailhead where there was more trail magic. A guy had chips and cold drinks and shared his congratulations. We then headed back to cabin so that I could wash up before grabbing some dinner. It turns out that my ears had gotten sunburned and I really did not notice just how bad it was till today.
We got back to the cabin at 5:30 pm and after a shower I changed in to non-hiking cloths for the first time since early June. Actually, I have been wearing the same hiking clothes the entire trail. We went back into town to a pizza joint to get dinner. It was some good food and a cool place to eat.
After dinner we went back to our cabin and grabbed our swimsuits and went to the hot tub near the lodge, where we could see the sun going down behind the mountains. A fitting end to a good day and an awesome journey!
Time for some fun facts from the summer:
On the trek: I went through 4 rolls of toilet paper, 3 broken trekking poles, 1 broken backpack, 5 pairs of shoes, 45 boxes of pop tarts, about 100 packs of ramen noodles. I wore the same shirt every day of hiking. The longest time I went without a shower was 19 days. I averaged 24.9 miles per day over 94 days. I only took 3 zero days, one in Idyllwild, and the other two when I got off trail to go to new student orientation in College Station. I had no rain from day 9 on the trail till day 79.