Today was our planned date to finish the trail. We’re not far off track and it’s another reminder that we will soon be done.
A windy and wet morning as usual. It has become the norm. It has become what the trail is, to us. It is, well, almost welcome. We’re in Washington says the weather, and we won’t be for much longer. So we’re forcing ourselves to APPRECIATE IT!
Uphill climbs are welcome now, as well. Uphill warms our bones. Thank you, uphill! We climbed into beautiful Echo Valley where we came across Great Blue Heron and a second Hot Mess. We’re still meeting new thru hikers even here at the very end!
And then it was a long 5 mile uphill climb which zapped what little strength we had left. Washington was continuing to kick out butts, all of us, and as the end of each day approaches we nearly literally crawl to our campsites through our exhaustion. Keeping up a 27 a mile day pace in these Washington mountains is killer, but for some reason we’re doing it anyway.
Views of glaciers and clouds awaited us up high. Hart’s Pass was only a few miles away and it was our camping goal with the crew we’ve been hiking with since Stehekin. A sign on our path pointed towards Canada and told us we only had 35 miles to the border. Only 35 more miles.
Approaching the pass, it was interesting to see a border patrol guard station and tower. THAT’S HOW CLOSE WE ARE! Nothing like the forces we saw and heard near the Mexican border, but there is a presence.
Bushtit had been feeling crappy all day. She was exhausted and nearly broken, but boy did her eyes light up when we strolled into the Hart’s Pass campground and find some trail magic! Devilfish, a 2014 thru hiker, had his van stocked full of sodas, chips, hotdogs, and more for us to share! He let some hikers sleep in his van and cooked us each dinner on his gas grill. This was really the last chance for trail magic to happen, the last road possible, and Devilfish knew it. He saved our weary souls and gave us the sugar and fuzzy feelings we needed to boost ourselves to the finish line.
We camped in the light rain behind the van. 30 miles until the northern terminus. It didn’t even matter how cold or wet our days and nights were anymore. We were ready to close this final chapter.