Sept 23rd
Holman Pass(2637.5)-Canadian Border/Monument 78(2654.2)
Today’s Mileage: 16.7mi(plus 7.9 off trail)=24.6mi

Today was the big day we’ve all been waiting for. CANADA BABY!!! Bookworm and I got up and started hiking at 5:45am. I was very excited to be doing everything for the last time. Taking down my tent, waterproofing my backpack, doing my morning cat hole routine, etc. It was a pretty ideal morning. For some reason, it was so warm that we only needed jackets for the first 30mins of our hiking. Yankee has a swollen ankle, so he hiked on last night while he was feeling up to it. We knew we’d meet him this morning at the next water source and when we got there, we found out that other hikers were there too! Viper and Skinny D had stayed there yesterday to wait out the rain. I was SO excited to hear I had caught Skinny D! The last time I saw her was when we did Mt. Baden Powell together on Day 23. She is good friends with Liz and I’ve always known where she is through Liz. Both Skinny D and Viper have sections to go back and complete in the Sierra, but they were headed to the border today. We had just missed Skinny D in the morning and caught up to her at the high point of Washington at 7120ft. It was an awesome day and the views were great up there!

We also did Woody Pass with lots of long exposed switchbacks and great scenery.

The clouds were still lingering and I was able to get this great one of Yankee hiking up with a cloud behind him. Headin’ to the border!

Having Skinny D there was so perfect for me! It was a great distraction for both of us. We had so much to catch up on, that before we knew it, we we could see the Canadian Border. It’s pretty cool! You can see the trees cut to make a clear line of where the border is.

We knew we were close and we all got pretty excited. Within a few minutes, we were at Monument 78. We finished at about 12:40pm and the weather was perfect. YAY! We all took tons of pictures and filled out the register. I managed not to cry and just felt this great sense of peace and calm. The sun was shining at Monument 78 and all was right with the world.! I took a ton of pictures and a video of the day will be posted soon. As you can see, I even had my chocolate milk and Chips Ahoy cookies! It was so great!

This year, the PCT was exceptionally challenging and few people will complete a true thru hike. Both Yankee and I are very proud to have been part of the lucky few to make it straight through this year. Just to put it in perspective, here are some numbers for ya. I hope they produce official counts about this year once it is complete, but this is what I know so far. We seem to be just within the top 50 of finishers so far. At the age of 56, Yankee is the second oldest (behind Buffalo Jump Sly, age 57, a few days behind us) to complete a true thru. We are not aware of anyone older. I was the 5th female to finish so far this year and the second solo female. I was just behind the first solo female hiker, Sniper,the whole way. I never got to meet her because she started a week before me and she finished the day before me. Yankee and Bookworm were were relieved that I didn’t know she was a day away because we would have been hiking a lot more to catch up to her! I don’t say this to brag, but more to show how difficult this year is! By this time any other year, most hikers have completed their hike and there are probably triple the number of complete thru hikers. This was quite a grueling year!

After a couple hours, we left the monument and started our nine mile hike to Manning Park Lodge in Canada. Skinny D was not exiting through Canada and hiked back south to Harts Pass. Yankee hiked ahead and when we reached the road one mile from the lodge, I hoped to get a hitch. I heard a car coming and ran for the road with my thumb out and they pulled over. How perfect! Ending the hike with one last hitch!

When we got to the lodge, Two Hats was there. He had finished yesterday and that was really cool because we started together in the same group. The last time I saw him at Crater Lake, he showed me a picture he had of the group at the border and I was in it! Such a crazy world, this hike! We all had dinner together and I got to celebrate with an awesome chocolate lava cake for dessert. A great end to an amazing journey!

Many people want to know how it feels to complete such an epic and long journey…It actually feels pretty perfect! I just feel really light and surprisingly calm. I know I’ve lost too much weight, but when I say light, I mean that I feel no tension, stress, worries…which is HUGE for me! I tend to be a little “wound up” if you know what I mean. It’s like the stars have aligned and everything is just flowing smoothly. I’m floatin’ on one of those awesome Oregon clouds! I am present, in the moment, and appreciative. It feels oh so great! I am headed home to Portland and looking forward to it just as much as the trail. I think it helps that I love my life there, and this hike was just a bonus for me. An amazing bonus that has changed me forever and I hope to never forget what it has taught me.

Once I get home and settled, I have many post-hike entries on the way in the coming weeks. I know people would like to hear how the trail has changed me, what it has taught me, my advice for the trail next year, gear reviews, the adjustment to being off the trail and returning to civilization, etc. I’m not gone yet, but as for this journey, it has come to a close. It was a privilege to be able to share it with so many over the world and this journal is my chocolate icing on the most beautiful cake! I know that for many of you, this may be the last of my entries that you will read. I want to take this opportunity to share my final video that I took after leaving Monument 78(there is another video of my complete final day coming in my section summary). I want to say thank you to everyone who took this epic journey with me and it is with this video that I say farewell.

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