On the last day of the PCT we arrived to find a large wooden monument that marked the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. There, I said a few words to my friends and fellow trekkers. I was asked to post this for them. It’s one of those “you had to be there” kind of things.
“I want you all to take a journey with me. I want you to use your mind’s eye, think as vividly as you can back to just a few months ago. Come back with me to the Mexican Border and the southern termanis monument.
Think about those brand new kicks, the fresh socks, spick and span pack, and shiney new tent strapped to your pack. Think about that ride to the terminus, the anticipation winding up in your stomach. Think about that very first step into the arid desert.
Think about that first big hill, up and over, dumping down into Lake Morena and that first nights camp. Staring up through your tent into the night sky, marking your first night on trail.
Think about pushing through the desert to those “active explosives in area” signs and feeling a little nervous.
Climbing up to Mount Laguna and the 60 mph winds, 20 degree night, and frozen water pipes in the morning. First full on views of the desert below.
Julian and Mama’s Pie, Scissors Crossing and the huge cache at 3rd gate (Thanks trail angels!).
Stopping off at Mike’s Place for a burrito with a side of machetes and whiskey. Secretly hoping to yourself that your not going to get stabbed that night.
Breakfast at Paradise Bakery. Idyllwild and at its quaintness. Finally dropping weight, slowly climbing up to San Jacinto Peak. Cold as hell, huge smile on, looking north to hot desert and the Gorgonio Mountains.
Dropping down, sleeping under the I10 at Cabazon Pass. Natty light in hand, thinking this is what it means to be homeless.
Pushing on to Big Bear Lake, your first hotel on trail.
Hiking to Hiker Heaven and soon after Agua Dulce. Getting your first real trail angel experience complete with laundry and a ride anywhere you needed.
The 24 challenge to Casa de luna (shh lets keep that on the low)!
The push through the Gorgonios, trying not to get bfed at hiker town, walking the huge LA aqua duct. Thinking about all that water below your feet and not a drop in sight.
Hiking beneath the Air Turbines, finding Tehachapi and some killer BBQ at Red House BBQ.
Fast forward now: Getting your feet under you, finally exiting the desert at Kennedy Meadows south, entering the famous Sierras.
Seeing the snow covered granite wide spread wilderness before you in all its glory. Your first 14er, waking up at 1am, that beautiful sunrise (maybe it was the best sunrise you ever saw).
Forester Pass, Kearsarge Pass, dropping into Bishop, that awesome guys who gave you a 40 mile hitch, and of course Hostel California.
All the passes, Muir was by far the best, the snow the sunrises, the ice cold lakes you jumped in. Man the Sierras really rocked my world.
Northern cali and all its green tunnel goodness, Mt. Shasta, Castle Rocks, the smoke, Seiad Valley and the State of Jefferson. Finally touching that fucking Oregon border! Finally out of California, it only took 3 months!
Ashland, the smoke, my first zero in Oregon, pushing 30s getting full on. Crushing bigger miles. Crater Lake in all its beauty (if you could see it).
Busting through to the Three Sisters, Hiking up to Mt Hood and Timberline Lodge, the smoke in the air but you can still see the beauty.
Finally pushing to PCT days and Cascade Locks, brews with friends you hadn’t seen in months!
Stepping into Washington across that crazy fucking bridge trying not to get hit by passing cars.
Finding the elevation again was back in full force, Trout Lake, Mt Adams, the Goat Rock Wilderness.
Coming down Snowquolumne, Dru Bru (I know you got a beer . . or two), Skykomish, the rain and the 100 mile race, getting dry, seeing the end insight going for it.
Motoring on to Holden and their awesome hospitality, the whole town coming to wave you off in the bus to the Ferry like it was a scene out of some Hallmark movie. Stehekin and their closed off city, the delicious bakery, and of course . . . your last resupply.
Pushing on and up, up and down, down and up again, finally reaching Hearts Pass and the final fire detour.
Hiking down to the creek, packing in your celebratory beer, champagne, smoke, whatever floats your boat, all the way, step by step, to the border.
I want to be the first to say to all of you, congratulations for your achievement. You just walked across America from Mexico to Canada. 2650 miles end to end. You earned every inch, you earned every mile. You and the friends standing next to you now.
Go ahead and open your eyes, and Welcome to Canada!!!”
Thank you all, for everything.