July 16 (~06:50 – ~18:20)
Windy Pass – Monument 78 / Canadian border (25.4 mi / Total: 2653.1 mi) (+0.2 bonus miles to tentsite in Canada)
Total PCT miles: 1553.1
Weather: Good hiking temperature. A little overcast but also sunny.
It’s a moody morning. Fog drifts in the valleys and I walk through distinct patches of shade and sun, creating a melancholy atmosphere. This is my last day in Washington, and in a normal year this would be my last day on the PCT. In my case, I’m not done just yet, I still have parts of Oregon and California to walk. Still, it feels bittersweet that I’ll be reaching the border today, and it makes me happy I’m not finished yet. Despite the turbulent past few months, I’m not ready for it to be over.
This last day proves a memorable one. I meander through forests and mountain views, everything green – that intense Washington green, then lush fields of grass with tiny white flowers, blue lakes below rocky passes and the very last snow. The day changes constantly and my energy doesn’t wane. This doesn’t feel like a 25 mile day at all.
The trail is busy though. There are so many southbounders who have only just started their journey, and they are quite recognisable as such – they still have their baby fat, lack distinct tan lines, all their gear and clothing just a little too clean, although it won’t take long for all of this to change. I wonder how all of these people are going to make it to Mexico – for southbounders it’s a general rule that they should get past Forrester Pass in the Sierras by the first of October, before the weather turns, and they would have to be hiking solid 30 mile days to be able to make it right now. Some might be able to, but most people don’t hike 30 mile days consistently – far from it. I wonder how they will do – if they will brave the weather, or consider a flipflop.
After all the passing panoramics, the day ends with 8 miles of a constant descend into the forest. I have my last sandwich at the last campsite three miles before the border, and then I head off for Canada. The final stretch is a frustrating one – lots of overgrowth and brush, and downed trees across the trail. In the end I’m walking towards the sun, low above the trees, and then it’s there, Monument 78, the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail.
I’m far from done, but I made it to the Canadian border, and it feels like an amazing milestone. I’ve completed just over 1550 miles of the 2650, so I’m over halfway there, with just 1100 to go.
Three hikers are at the monument when I arrive, about to start their section hike of Washington, and when they leave, it’s just me. Me and the mosquitoes, but I don’t care. I take my time to climb on top of that monument to take all the pictures, and sign the trail register. I’m there for much too long, probably, until I decide it’s time to move on, and I walk into Canada, just 0.2 miles to the nearest campsite for the night.
When I try and select a spot I think I hear people, but then I realise it’s my stomach. It’s all right, tomorrow morning I’ll walk into Manning Park and I’ll soon be able to eat all the food in the world again. I just hope the hitch out will go all right tomorrow! And after that, I’ll get to continue my PCT adventure…