We hitched out of Rainy Pass in the morning – first to Mazama so Couscous could pick up his bounce box, and then to Winthrop where we ate breakfast at the Duck Restaurant. My parents joined us for lunch and gave us a ride into Canada. Yesterday we decided to hike to the monument from Manning Park, so together we drove the 5 hours around to the trail on the Canadian side.
The trail in Manning Park begins with a short, flat walk through forest before following a dirt road up nearly 3 miles and 1300 feet elevation gain. From there the trail resumed, passing a junction for Mt. Frosty and the PCT camp before descending down toward the border. Our excitement grew as Monument 78 approached. This was the moment we’d awaited for so long. When the clearing for the border appeared in the distance, we all ran the final 150 feet to the monument. We made it. We were here.
Joy and happiness. Relief and incredulity. So many emotions flooded in as we stood there admiring what we worked so hard and walked so far to reach. Surprisingly there was no sadness or bitterness as I imagined previously. Perhaps I had come to terms with that in these last few days previous. Or perhaps it’ll hit me harder than ever in a couple days. Whatever it may be, our time with the terminus will forever be imprinted upon my heart as an overwhelmingly positive memory.
We took our photos in the setting sun with the monument while taking in the moment and all that we’ve accomplished. Reading through the trail register allowed us to live the moment through other’s words and to see the entries of those who came before us – friends and strangers both, but all compatriots on this trail we called home. I especially enjoyed Frick’s entry: “What’s in front of us is unbelievable, what’s behind unforgettable.”
We’re the first group to have flipped from Rainy Pass to Manning Park to reach the terminus and the only people to sign the trail register at the terminus today, but I’m sure many will follow in the coming days and weeks. The trail may be closed due to the unfortunate fires that arose, but that doesn’t mean we have to have a sad ending. Nothing will take away from the wild adventure we’ve enjoyed from Mexico to Canada, and nothing will intrude upon the special place the trail holds in our hearts. This chapter of our lives may have come to an end, but we’re also at the trailhead to something new.
Thank you Pacific Crest Trail. Thank you, and Goodbye.