Day 161-165: Canada!
Day 161: Stehekin (Mile 2580)-South of Porcupine Creek (Mile 2600.5); 20.5 miles
We caught the morning bus out of Stehekin and were soon back on the Pacific Crest Trail, walking the final section. We passed vine maples changing colors, crossed rushing rivers, and walked through groves of large cedar trees.
Walking almost until dark, we caught glimpses of the sunset through gaps in the forest. It was strange to consider that these were our last few days on the trail. We had become accustomed to the incredible beauty and simplicity of life in the backcountry.
Day 162: South of Porcupine Creek (Mile 2600.5)-Ridge Above Glacier Pass (Mile 2623); 22.5 miles
Early on, we came across a dusky grouse, large and plump, sitting in the trail. When it noticed us, it flew into a nearby tree.
Switchbacks brought us up to a pass, where the larch trees were turning a fantastic shade of yellow.
In the evening, we tackled a 2500 foot climb, our last ascent of this magnitude on the PCT. Setting up camp at 6800 feet, we warmed ourselves with a pot of oatmeal. The sun set as a bright full moon rose over blazing yellow larches.
Day 163: Ridge Above Glacier Pass (Mile 2623)-Near Goat Lakes (Mile 2645.5); 22.5 miles
Clouds filled the morning sky, which made for a colorful sunrise above the mountains surrounding us. What a way to wake up!
The day got better still when we reached Hart’s Pass, where Gondo and his father Chuck had set up tasty trail magic. Many hikers partook, including Kegel, Gilch, Tangent, Holstein, Lunchbox, H-Bomb, Bobcat, Blue Girl, and U-Haul. All of us were keen to enjoy each other’s company before we parted ways.
Hiking on under cloudy skies, we noticed a few drops of rain. The larches continued to delight us, their yellow needles even more vivid against a grey backdrop.
There was a final treat in store for us today: a marten! This was the first marten we had ever seen, and we were very excited to watch it stretch its long, lithe body.
Day 164: Near Goat Lakes (Mile 2645.5)-PCT Camp (Mile 2664); 18.5 miles
It rained a bit overnight, but by morning the fog and billowing clouds were beginning to clear. The changing weather made the mountain peaks even more dramatic than usual.
After lunch, the PCT dropped into a densely vegetated forest for several miles. Then, suddenly, the trail curved and the US-Canadian border, the PCT monument, and our friends Bobcat and Blue Girl came into view.
For us, this trip was more about the journey than the finish line, so we both felt a jumble of emotions. We were sad that we would no longer be living outdoors, but happy to have hiked every step of the PCT.
We did it!
Day 165: PCT Camp (Mile 2664)-Manning Park, BC, Canada (Mile 2668) + 1 mile off trail to bus; 5 miles
Yesterday we crossed the Canadian border, but the trail continues a few miles into Canada. We hiked the remaining distance in frigid morning air. As we walked, the trail transformed from a narrow path through the forest to a gravel road, and eventually we reached a smoothly paved highway. We had left the wilderness.
A couple hours later, we boarded a bus to Vancouver. Our walk from Mexico to Canada had been an incredible experience, but also a draining one. We were looking forward to resting, and beginning work on a landscape photo book of the Pacific Crest Trail. Shutterbug reserved his best photographs for the book and did not post them on the blog, so if you enjoyed the photos here, the book will be even better.
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Thanks everyone for your support on this amazing adventure. Hike on!