Approaching Canada

Alright, lets do this. Let’s try to get these last 80 miles done.

As always after town, we have to hike up a mountain first.

It feels different today though. It will be the last section. Oh my!

My PCT comes to an end.

That’s a good thing, right? I want to make it to Canada, right?

The epic beauty of these last few miles makes it not much easier to prepare myself to let go.

Oh PCT!

But then, I guess I am ready to get done. I am tired. My body hurts. The nights are frosty and cold. I can not sleep well anymore because after laying for a few hours, at about 4 am, I get so bloody freezing cold.

Today, I am ahead of my family and hike on my own. It’s a strange day. I see nobody all afternoon. It’s just me, the path, and this vast beauty out here.

It’s tremendous.

I am in deep thoughts all day.

We agreed to meet at Harts Pass.
That’s where this last fire is supposed to wait for us. Again, all hiking trails are closed here, only the PCT remains open, marking the border of the fire closure.

I arrive at about 6 pm. It’s brutally cold and windy. I set up my tent and wait for the guys.

“I have bad news” says the Ranger Lady who just approached in her pickup.

“This road here will be closed in one hour. No hikers are allowed to walk on the road as of now. The PCT remains open though for now, but use caution”.

Use caution?

What the hell is this supposed to mean?

I get nervous. In fact, I feel rather terrified. The road here is the last exit point in case something happens, and now they close it? It’s super remote out here anyway. So if we walk into fire trouble, we can’t use this exit but have to backtrack about 80 miles.

I am super restless. It gets dark and the guys have not arrived yet. Hope they are fine!!

I am totally stressed out.

Here they come!

I am relieved and feel better right away.

We discuss our options and decide to hike toward Canada fast now, before they eventually close the PCT!

We will try to make it to the border in two days instead of three.

So we hike out in the morning.

It’s cold!

But oh man it is a beautiful morning!

The PCT is so pretty (!) up here in this last Washington stretch! So many mountains to look at.

We see the smokey haze further up, but the wind is still in our favour.


All is fine. I feel fine. Am not worried about the fire at all anymore.

Most things we do now we do for the last time…

Last climb up a mountain, last swim in a lake, last time putting up my Big Agnes. Last dinner in the woods….

I am sad but also rather exciting to be done soon. All at once.

Tomorrow we will most probably reach the border!

We wake up, and approach the last 6 miles.

I am a little in front again, so I better wait for the guys at the last little creek, as I want to walk to the monument together with them. Here they come and sit down too.

We look at the map, it’s now only 0.9 miles….

We hike the last stretch and see the US/Canadian border! You can see it in the photo below, the line of clear cut trees on the left hand side marks the border!


The path takes a left turn, and here it is:

THE MONUMENT!

The Northern Terminus of the PCT!

“We made it!”

“We bloody made it!!!”

Ohhhh my!

I drink the Whisky which I carried out here specially for this occasion.

“Cheers!”

“Oh bloody Cheers!!!”

It’s a bit loud and rather crowded by the monument, as there are other hikers here too. They celebrate with Champagne and are very excited and a bit loud. That’s fine, they are happy, they deserve to be as loud as they want, but I guess I would have wished for this moment to be a little more, uhm, poetic perhaps?


But it’s OK. I am here!

I made it. We made it!

We make our own mandatory monument photos and then hang out a bit.

I write down my trailname into the trail register one last time, together with a little personal message of gratitude.

Well, time to leave I guess. We are still in the middle of nowhere and have to hike out of the woods to the Manning Park Resort, where we can catch a bus (at 2am!) to get to Vancouver.

So we have still 8 miles of hiking to do, but on Canadian soil!

I am hiking in Canada right now!

It seems to take forever to reach Manning Park, but now we are here.

They offer free shower, and free usage of pool and hot tub for PCT hikers (thank you!) and we can do our laundry.

We have a late lunch in the restaurant.

Now Andy wants to hitchhike into Vancouver, but Felix and I are fine with just hanging out and taking the bus later tonight.

So Andy disappears rather quickly.
He is gone! Just like that! Very weird!

Felix and I have dinner (we both order the same thing as we had for lunch) and I splurge myself with a cocktail!

Time to sleep on the floor a bit, waiting for the Greyhound bus.

It’s 2 am, the bus arrives. It will take us about 3 hours to get to Vancouver.
I can not sleep in the bus, even though I am “noodelized” as Felix would say.

We arrive in Vancouver and book a place to stay for two nights.

Of course we walk to the place rather than taking a bus! So we “hike” through town and I feel a bit awkward in my hiking outfit. I am sure Felix does too.

It seems like the woods spat us out and now we are in the big city, surrounded by well dressed and good smelling people. 

We hang out in Vancouver, walk around, eat, drink coffee, and go to the movies. It does me good to transfer into the other life again in this way.

“Thank you Felix, that was great!”

I will fly home tomorrow and just said goodbye to Felix a few moments ago.

It was hard to let him go. So very hard. He is such a profoundly good person.

This is it I guess.

This was my PCT.

It’s been purely amazing! 

I am very grateful and still way too overwhelmed at the moment to write a few closing words. I will do this later, and write some post-PCT reflections here. (Perhaps after I have gone through my probably mandatory PTD (Post Trail Depression… Something many former PCT hiker seemed to have gone through once they were off trail again).

For now though, my thanks and gratitude go out to all the volunteers out there who constantly maintain the trail, to all the Trailangels, specifically Lu and her family, who helped me out of a miserable situation at Whitewater Preserve, I thank all those open minded people who stopped their car and gave us a ride into and out of town, I thank Bruce, Andy’s and Felix’s dads for driving me around and being so wonderful to me, and I thank you dear reader for reading my blog and liking my images!

It means the world to me!

I thank my friends at home who sent me messages of encouragement and kept being interest in what I was doing out here for all these months.

I thank Steffi, Basti, Swiss Miss, Roadrunner, Cowboy, Chantal and Francis for hiking with me for a little while. I thank Kathy who helped me with lots of logistical issues, I thank Tim and my sister Barbara, who both followed me on the GPS and always knew exactly where I was, I thank Dunja for keeping my business at home alive and I thank my mum who is always by my side.

And of course I thank my amazing Trailfamily. We have gone through so much together!

“Andy, you have been a ton of fun and a great companion. You so often had a big smile on your face, even when it was rough and tough!”

And my biggest “THANK YOU” goes out to Felix:

“You have been simply amazing. Every single day. Without exception. You are magic. I will come and hike any Long Distance Hike in the world with you!” 

[Well, perhaps we should pick a place where they have no wildfires though!]

“I am ready when you are!“

;)

Xxx

 

 

39 replies
    • Heidi says:

      Thank you Rosie! The pleasure of sharing was on my side!! :-). I made it home safely and am slowly getting “back to normal”…. (haha, not sure this is a good thing though… )

      Reply
  1. Chris Tea says:

    Gratulation,
    Anerkennung,
    Hochachtung,
    Bewunderung,
    Kompliment,
    Respekt,
    Applaus.

    “And the winner is….”
    Der goldene Wanderschuh und das goldene Blasenpflaster 2017 gehen an Heidi!

    Im Hinz&Kunz können wir dann einmal das Ereignis begiessen.

    Reply
    • Heidi says:

      Hi Christi, (or Chris Tea!). Das hast Du ganz wunderbar gesagt! Vielen vielen Dank!!! Wir treffen uns bald, gell. VERSPROCHEN!!! Liebe Grüsse, Heidi

      Reply
    • Heidi says:

      Thank you Dale! Hehe, yes, what’s next?! That is the big question now! But I am sure I will come up with a couple of hiking ideas! And I hope Felix will join in! And perhaps we will need your help once more on our next adventure! :-) Big hug from Switzerland! Heidi

      Reply
  2. Alexandra says:

    Liebe Heidi, DANKE DIR, dass Du mich/uns an diesem besonderen Teil Deines Lebens hast teilhaben lassen!!! Ich bin ganz traurig, dass es jetzt vorbei ist und wünsche Dir viel Kraft und Freude für die nächste Zeit. Liebe Grüsse und bis bald!

    Reply
    • Heidi says:

      Liebe Alexandra, also Dir auch 1000 Dank für Deine immer so tollen und motivierenden Comments! Du hat mich immer sehr inspiriert! Ich bin auch traurig, dass es vorbei ist! Aber es wird neues kommen! Wie immer im Leben! Wir sehen uns bald mal zum Kaffee, gell! :-) Ganz liebe Grüsse, Heidi

      Reply
  3. Barbara says:

    liebi Heidi, so schön dass du dr PCT und s’wandere immerno liebsch, näbe de tolle und wunderbare hets jo au struubi und sehr harti, existenzielli Zitte gäh. I find’s au schön, dass dinni hikerfamily bis am Schluss zämme bliibe isch (jo miteme Miniunterbrüchli) und dir sogar witteri Wittwanderige zämme wärde mache. Das isch e grosses Glück und i freumi sehr für dich. Sicher isch scho jetzt, dassi di Blog wird vrmisse … es ische abenteuerlichi Zitt gsy au für mich als dinni Schweschter und Läserin uf dr Couch. Ich ha oft mitglitte aber mi au mitgfreut je nach Situation.
    i wünsch dr e friedliggs Abschiednäh und denn e ruhige Flug hei zu uns..Barbara

    Reply
  4. Marlise Lachat says:

    PTD…. Die habe ich jetzt glaub auch:-(!
    Jetzt ist es vorbei mit dem aufgeregten Öffnen der Mails, um zu gucken, ob NEWS von dir dabei sind!
    Ich gratuliere dir von ganzem Herzen und glaube, dass das schwerste Gepäckstück (wenn frau das so sagen darf) wohl DEIN HERZ ist….
    So voller Emotionen….Abenteuer….Erlebnisse…. …. ….
    Challenge for a lifetime!
    Sei umarmt!
    Marlise

    Reply
    • Heidi says:

      Vielen lieben Dank Marlise! Sorry für die späte Antwort! Es hat etwas gedauert, aber jetzt bin ich wieder “angekommen”. Es war für mich immer ganz speziell, Deine wunderbaren Comments zu lesen! Du hast immer so mitfühlend geschrieben. Ganz wunderbar! Vielleicht können wir uns ja auf einen Kaffee treffen! Was meinst Du? :-) Ganz liebe Grüsse, Heidi

      Reply
      • Marlise Lachat says:

        Liebe Heidi
        Schön zu lesen, dass deine Batterien aufgetankt sind und du gemächlich in Basel mit allen Sinnen angekommen bist.
        Mich würde es seeeeeehr freuen, wenn wir uns auf einen Café oder so treffen könnten…
        Bin grad gestern auf dem Niederhorn gewesen und bis Habkern gemütlich gelaufen (so etwa nicht mal die Hälfte deiner üblichen Tagesdistanz, oder…)…es kamen so einige “old memories” hoch (Schlitteln, das Hochhieven der Holzkommode, Raclette nach dem Abbruch der Maderantertalwanderung…) und ich sagte zu meiner Begleitung: Jetzt ist Heidi schon seit geraumer Zeit home again…doch ich habe nichts mehr von ihr gelesen..,
        Machte später s Mailprogramm auf, um was Anderes zu checken – und – tadäää…
        Da war sie wieder, eine erneute Nachricht von Heidi :-)!
        Meine Eckdaten sind noch alle immer die gleichen, falls du sie noch irgendwo abgespeichert haben solltest…
        Sehr gerne nun auf einen Café mit dir!
        Herzlich
        Marlise

        Reply
  5. Kathy says:

    Dear Heidi—I felt as though I have been with you on this amazing journey through your writing and pictures! Congratulations on being able to complete this most amazing feat—and huge hugs!! Linda and I are looking forward to having Heidi Chocolate with you and hearing all about it!…..Kathy

    Reply
  6. Gabi says:

    Liebe Heidi
    Einfach grossartig – du hast es geschafft und hast einen Traum erfüllt – trotz grossen Strapazen bist du immer weitergewandert. Danke, dass du uns mit deinem Blog daran teilhaben liessest. Es war immer total spannend und die Fotos sind wunderschön. Das Loslassen vom PCT wird nicht so einfach sein. Ich wünsche dir von Herzen ein gutes Heimkommen und freue mich, dich bald wieder zu sehen. Herzlich, Gabi

    Reply
    • Heidi says:

      Vielen lieben Dank Gabi für Deine lieben Worte! Mittlerweilen bin ich doch wohl wieder langsam hier im “anderen” Leben angekommen. Am Mittwoch werde ich wieder im Büro sein…. Und dann werde ich Dich sicher bald sehen! Ich freue mich darauf! Ganz herzliche Grüsse, Heidi

      Reply
  7. Bert says:

    Hallo Heidi,

    tja, scheinbar ist es soweit. Deine, nein DIESE Reise endet hier wohl. Gratulation das du es geschafft hast, es war wohl ein schwieriges Jahr für euch Hiker. Umso schöner ist es wohl, dort am Monument gestanden zu haben. Ich freu mich für dich…

    Schön, die vielen warmen Worte an die Personen, die dein Abenteuer in der ein oder anderen Form begleitet haben. Auch wenn ich nur ein Leser war, berühren sie einen irgendwie doch. Denn du hast unseren Traum gelebt und uns durch deine Beiträge doch irgendwie teilhaben lassen. Vielen Dank dafür…

    Dir eine gute Heimreise und eine gute Zeit weiterhin, ich bin mir sicher, das war nicht deine letzte Reise. Gern begleite ich dich wieder mal…

    Viele Grüße

    Bert

    Reply
    • Heidi says:

      Lieber Bert! Sorry für meine späte Antwort. Es hat etwas gedauert, bis ich wieder im normalen Leben angekommen bin. Ich danke Dir dafür, dass Du mich virtuell begleitet hast via mein Blog, und mir immer so mega mega liebe Comments geschrieben hast. Das war ganz wunderbar und sehr inspirierend! :-) Ja, das war definitiv nicht meine letzte Wanderung!! Und ich freue mich, wenn Du mich wieder begeitest!! Ganz liebe Grüsse, Heidi

      Reply
  8. Connie says:

    Well done! So glad to have shared one night with you on the PCT. I have tears of joy that you made it to Canada. Thank you for sharing your adventure. I wish you well in whatever hike you plan in the future because something tells me another hike is in your future. Maybe the Continental Divide or Appalachian Trail. Although, I think you have concord the big one! If only I were young again!. Again, well done!!
    Connie

    Reply
    • Heidi says:

      Thank you Connie! Yes, I will definitely hike many more long hikes! It is all I want to do! And I guess yes, haha, the PCT was a good training playground. Maybe the one in New Zealand is next? We will see! Big hug, Heidi

      Reply
  9. Barbara Viereck says:

    Hallo Heidi,
    Congratulation! You’ve done so well! Ich habe Deinen blog erst seit kurzem verfolgt, bin aber total begeistert. Vor allem weil ich mit meinem Hans im Juli wenigstens vom Manning Park aus zum Monument 78 gewandert bin. Seither bin bin ich restlos infiziert vom PCT, auch wenn ich wohl ein paar Jährchen älter bin. Aber dies eröffnet mir die Möglichkeit, in 2 oder eher 3 Jahren an die Verwirklichung meines Traumes zu denken! Dein Blog und die grandiosen Fotos lassen mich immer nur denken: da will ich auch hin!
    Ich wünsche Dir eine gute Heimkehr in die Schweiz und dass die PTD nicht zu arg wird. Danke dass Du mich und die vielen anderen Follower an diesem Deinem Abenteuer hast teilnehmen lassen-
    Barbara aus Regensburg

    Reply
    • Heidi says:

      Liebe Barbara! Sorry für meine späte Antwort! Es hat ein Weilchen gedauert, bis ich wieder einigermassen “normal” war. ;-D Ich kann nur sagen Barbara: DO IT! Wandere den PCT! Es ist grossartig!!! Wenn Du Fragen hast, schreibe mir einfach eine Email! Liebe Grüsse, Heidi

      Reply
  10. Bruce says:

    Quite an accomplishment Heidi. I’m glad to have played a tiny role in your adventure. Thanks again for the great Chinese dinner you bought for me in Ridgecrest CA way back in May. Have a wonderful rest-of-you-life. Fondly, Bruce

    Reply
    • Heidi says:

      Hello Bruce! So sorry it took me a while to respond! But now I am back on track! Hehe, yes, I remember hot Ridgecrest very well! All the best to you too Bruce! You will always be in my heart!!

      Reply
  11. Cristian says:

    You have my deepest admiration for one in a thousand lifetimes accomplishment. Thank you for one of the greatest adventure blog series. Farewell home and my best wishes!

    Reply
    • Heidi says:

      Thank you so much Cristian!!!! Wow! That’s a hell of a great compliment!!! :-) – I really really enjoyed blogging – and I think I will keep it up. It is just too much fun to stop doing it! Best wishes from Switzerland!! Heidi

      Reply
  12. Lu Thompson says:

    Heidi, I will never, ever forget you! I am so happy that you finally made it to Canada, and I believe you are in Switzerland by now. You are the most amazing, brave and kind woman I have ever met in my life. I have lived vicariously all your PCT adventures through your blog’s beautiful pictures and writings. I truly am very happy for you to have conquered all the fears you faced in this amazing adventure. I hope that some day we could meet again. Thank you for spending a few hours with my family and I. And I am very honored to have been your trail Angel at the beginning of your adventure. What is next for you? Keep us posted….
    Much love to you ❤❤❤👼

    Reply
    • Heidi says:

      Hello again Lu! Sorry, it took me a while to respond… But now it seems I am “back to normal”. What an incredibly nice message you had left on my blog Lu! So incredibly nice! Thank you! I also will never forget you! You saved me! The honor is on my side! I am not exactly sure what’s next. Just sure it will be another long hike! :-) With a tremendously big hug: Heidi

      Reply

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