This is my last day writing the blog, Quiz is signing off. Today was hard emotionally and physically. I though that 2200 miles would have prepared me for a day like today (not my longest or hardest) but I feel like I’m pushing to the end now while my body and mind are waiting to finish. I’m sure I will write something after we have finished the trail and have reflected on the whole mammoth trip.
This morning was beautiful! We hiked along a ridge for miles going though beautiful high passes and meadows, looking at the jagged northern Cascades all around us. The mountains here are truely amazing and I kept saying to Turkey D that she should apply for jobs in Seattle so she can come here more often. We also saw 3 seperate plumes of smoke from the fires threatening the trail and the monument, one only 10 miles away. Luckily the wind is still blowing in the other direction.
After being spoilt for the first 8 miles of grandiose easy terrain the trail plunged into the trees and we descended to a wooded saddle before starting our climb. We stopped for lunch by a little stream and talked with Io and the UN Crew (formally the Kidney Stone Crew) and washed our some clothes so we look nice in our monument photos (jokes). We had done 14 miles and only had 10 left but we knew they involved a lot of climbing.
We didn’t stop for long and soon hit the slopes climbing out of the wood and into high rolling meadows and huge exposed rock faces. I’ll let the photos do most of the talking but it was pretty excellent walking. We passed a few hikers coming the other way many of whom seemed quite emotional. I was semi keeping my feelings in check and TD told me she had a lil cry with Box a hiker she passed on the trail and had never before met. It’s just a nice community like that.
We also got to see Teflon again on our final climb! She was so excited for us and openly admitted to balling her eyes out in this very spot the day before. At the top of our final climb we were sure we were looking at Canada! But by this stage I was too tired to feel emotions I just wanted to get to camp. The trail started to descend steeply down a rocky well eroded slope which scared me in my fatigue and finally made me start crying. I realised I am just tired of pushing myself everyday, 12 hours of walking, confronting my fear of heights, sore feet sore legs, back rub, butt chafe, I’m over it. I know I’m bitching and most of the time I love it, it’s just so hard mentally to struggle on your second last day out here.
We finally made it to camp (wahoo). Eagle eye TD spotted an owl which was cool. After a stretch and a quick wash in the lake I felt better and we joined UN crew and Io got dinner. We all had really nice reminiscent chats about our favourite moments on trail and the UN Crew gave us a party hat each to go with our whiskey at the monument. What a crazy time, I can’t quite believe that tomorrow we finish, touching that monument is something I have dreamt of doing for so many years and tomorrow it will happen!