I first hiked the Pacific Crest Trail over the course of 1994 and 1996, then I hiked the whole thing in one go in 2013. During the latter hike I kept this website updated as I progressed up the trail. I still have about 45 hours of video to edit, but in the meantime there is a lot for you to look at here. Over the course of the 168 days I wrote 138,734 words and put 13,644 photos on this website.
Cora and I woke up around 8:00am. Wabash and Callie were up a bit later. Since they were riding out with us they didn't need to hustle as bad. (eg, hike 9 miles before the Greyhound bus left at 10:10am).
I made coffee and oatmeal for Cora. I felt bad that there was no way possible we were going to be able to meetup with Rabbit Stick for breakfast. I should have given him a time cutoff as to not wait for us.
Cora and I took our coffees to the bridge and looked at the river. I told Cora I was running out of chances to drop my phone into the water. I mentioned all the times I was taking photos at night, standing on a wet rock, in the middle of a river, and still managed to hang onto the thing. "That does not surprise me at all that you were doing such a thing", she said.
My right tendon was hurting a bit so I took an Aleve after breakfast. I figured since we were close to the border we should get a few more photos and video. After all that was done we finally made it out of camp.
I decided to make more of a reality-TV-over-the-top-and-over-acted-style video of the last moments before crossing the border. I was happy how it came out, even though my vocal cords were not:
We had a pretty casual walk over the nine miles. It was kinda nice to just be going on a "hike" for a change. Cora and I had a good time walking out. The trail turned into a road for part of it which meant it was holdin' hands time. [audience cue: "awwwww"]
I had the Richard Shindell song "Kenworth of My Dreams" stuck in my head all morning. One regret I have is not getting a full version of Jug playing that song on his guitar 1900 miles ago.
I thought I was gonna be able to make it all the way out without having to change flashcards in my camera, but it was not to be. So a whopping two miles from the end I had to change cards. The trail approached a paved road and bridge. Prior to the trail hitting a mess of gravel roads and confusion, there was a piece of paper sitting in the middle of the trail. It was in a bag with a rock on it...it was a note from Rabbit Stick! It looks like he didn't wait too long which made me feel better. I wished we could have seen him for breakfast though. He left contact info so we can go meet him in Utah for breakfast.
The trail ended at a big mess of gravel roads and trails, right next to a paved road with a bridge. I knew there was a trailhead with a sign but I thought it was closer to (and east of) the lodge. As we crossed the river on the road bridge, I could see what looked like to be some sort of trailhead behind us.
There was a dirt road/trail that followed the paved road. We followed it for 1/2 mile or so. There was a trail that cut up to the lodge but I figured we'd just stick to the road and I would end the hike at Highway 3. Cora walked up to her car at the lodge and I went to Highway 3. I took a few photos and while I waited to cross a girl asked if I had just hiked the PCT. I told her I did and she yelled "CONGRATULATIONS!!" as she sprinted across Highway 3.
I looked at the GPS and Halfmile apps and saw that their "route" followed the paved road the whole way. Halfmile's app ends the trail at Highway 3, Guthook's ends it at the front door of the Manning Park Lodge. The PCT guidebook ends the trail way to the east near a sewage plant. Can't a guy like me get some sort of closure on where the end of the trail is in Canada?!
We found Wabash and Callie, then went and had lunch at the lodge. They had wifi so I started uploading all the photos I had queued up for this website. I made the mistake of checking Facebook. _____ called me a dick for questioning someone's distance claim when I (and others) knew they had skipped chunks of the trail. I guess I'm just a dick who expects honesty.
A few hikers whom I had not met before came into the lodge. They were glad to be done, but not jumping for joy or anything. Although, the two British girls said "we are gonna go look for some gin".
I signed the register at the lodge and we soon headed out. I asked Cora if we could go check the trailhead up the road I had seen previously. We went there and it was the PCT trailhead. I walked down the trail about 50 feet and ended up back at the gravel road we had turned on, thinking that was the end of the trail.
The drive to Vancouver was pretty uneventful. Rain/sun/rain/sun. Cora paid the coin to get cell data service so we could get to where we needed to go in Vancouver. We were originally going to drop Wabash and Callie off at the Greyhound station, but they were able to make plans with a college friend and stay with her.
We dropped them off at their friend's place and bid each other safe travels. Cora and I drove to a restaurant where our Vancouver hosts Keith and Melinda were eating. Cora had not seen Keith in about 15 years. Keith played drums in this band called Superconductor, which if you are paying attention, is the band whose song Cora and I made a video for a few years ago.
On the drive back to the house Cora and I were talking about the PCT. She remarked how almost everyone I/she had met (or written about) was either people who had just gotten out of college, or people in their 50's and 60's who had set up their life so they were able to take long periods of time off to hike the PCT. I thought about this and it was kind of true, I could only think of about five other hikers that were my age (around 40).
The night ended with Keith and I talking about music until 1am. He turned me onto several new bands and whatnot. His collection of music books was impressive, looks like I have a lot of reading to do when I get home.