Road into Campo
First sign looking north towards Canada
The Southern Terminus
My register entry almost 6 months ago.
Answerman's entry. Although we split paths after Mamoth Lakes, we kept in touch via phone throughout the hike. Answerman finished the trail in Manning Park with Blackgum and three other hikers two days after Indie and I finished. Again, it was neat to see my friend's names in the registers during this last stretch of trail, although I did feel a bit envious at times knowing they were home relaxing while I was still battling the elements!
The final ascent
It is finished!
I finished the trail on November 3, 2010. I could not have done it without the help from my hiking friends, the trail angels, Pete and Fabio assisting with resupply, Hikestrong donaters, and the grace of God, blessing us with exceptional weather for the month of October. Thank you all!!!
Unlike Manning Park (the northern terminus) where I was filled with elation, relief, and a bit of disbelief, the finish at the southern border was mostly filled with a feeling of satisfaction. While in Washington, Indie often would ask me whether or not I was going to finish the trail. Most of the time I answered that I was not planning on it, that I got everything out of the trail I wanted to get out of it by hiking Idyllwild to Manning Park. Finally, one day he said, "You need to finish the trail. You don't want to have any regrets."
The PCT ended with one last piece of trail magic. Allan picked me up at the monument at 12:00 sharp and drove me all the way to San Diego. It was the last piece in a long, long, string of human kindness that has made this trail so amazing and memorable. The views were unforgettable. The physical effort has been greater than anything I've attempted up to this point in my life. The community of hikers is exactly what it is. A community. Something that can be hard to find in this day and age.
I took away from this hike, that at the end of the day, I have nothing to worry about. As hard or desperate life gets, our basic needs will be provided for, somehow, someway. It may be uncomfortable, it may be scary, it may take time, it may be frustrating, it may not turn out the way we want it to, but we will be provided for. It's a very comforting realization. Thank you PCT...
On a side note, I'm going to be moving to Mendocino county tomorrow and starting (or resuming) my job working with autistic kids with my old company. I will say goodbye to southern California, and start a new chapter of life in northern California. Although I don't know anything about the area, I'm hoping to find some good trails and take some good pictures while living there. Until the next post (which I hope will be sooner rather than later), happy trails once again!