Distance hiked today: 27.2 miles / 43.3 km.
I made it to Canada.
On August 22nd, day 135, I completed my (nearly) continuous footpath in the wilderness from the border of Mexico. I started April 10th, and walked the 2,653.6 miles (4,269.6 km) of the Pacific Crest Trail.
"You're walking home!" people would always say when they learned I was Canadian. But the walk was my home. I lived outdoors with whatever I could carry, living by the rhythm of the sun, relying on water from the earth, and every day I woke up with one task: walk North.
I sweat more than I thought was possible, got very strange tan lines, and showered a total of 19 times in 4.5 months. I met amazing people along the way, saw so much beauty in the wild, and spent a lot of time in my head, walking 13-16 hours almost every day. I had only 9 zero days where I didn't walk at all.
It's been over 3 years in the making since my 2019 attempt was ended by a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes - which was crazy since I'd been literally starving to death while hiking 788 miles. Having to get off trail at that time was an equal, if not bigger blow than being diagnosed with a complex illness which has no cure, and that's saying something. So it meant a lot to be back on trail, and finally finish what I started.
I carried the extra weight of insulin, needles, Dexcom sensors, etc. I had the added challenge of managing my blood sugar every minute of the day, made more unpredictable by extreme changes in activity levels, and complicated by limited food and supplies.
Normally you can get a permit to cross the border into Canada in the wilderness once you finish the PCT, and hike 8 miles to Manning Park BC. But due to COVID travel restrictions, permits have been suspended and it's illegal to cross without one. That means once we reach the terminus we have to hike back 30 miles to Hart's Pass which is the nearest road in the US. So we left our camp set up on Rock Pass and slack packed from here since we'll be coming back this evening.
We hiked 13.5 miles to the PCT terminus, up on a ridge with amazing views and then down into the bush. The terminus posts sit on a cutline that marks the border and goes on as far as you can see.
At the terminus there were other hikers there as well, celebrating in different ways. Water Baby drank a shoe beer. Two-Mile busted out a 1lb bag of Skittles. Houdini crushed some PBR. Giggles chugged a 2L of Fanta she packed out to continue her #FueledByFanta tradition from her Apalichian Trail thru-hike finish. Working on a Fanta sponsorship over here. We ran across the border just to say we did, and had lunch there.
Then we had to hike all the way back to our camp which was mostly uphill. Storm clouds gathered all around us, the wind was picking up, and we could hear thunder. I thought for sure we were going to get destroyed by a storm tonight, but when we got back to Rock Pass all the clouds had moved on to other valleys and we had a beautiful calm night.
My backpack broke on my way back, a strap that keeps the curve in the frame rubbed through. The zippers on my tent also stopped working and we slept with the doors open. I guess it's a sign - my gear is saying we're done.
It was our turn to get congratulated by other hikers we passed as we backtracked - it's like a victory lap.
It feels weird to be done, like it's not real. It didn't feel like an "ending", like I'd just hiked across the country. Maybe because we still have to hike 30 miles back, or maybe because I didn't want it to end.
Thank you to Colin, my biggest supporter, not only with shipping my resupplies but also supporting me in being out here, and holding down the fort at home through a chaotic summer. And thanks to all of you for following along!
Total trail mileage: 2653.6 miles / 4269.6 km (end of the trail) + 13.5 backtracked miles.