From Hopkins Lake to Manning Park. The end of the trail.
It’s morning, we’re 6 miles from the monument, and I’m stoked! Any questions about my ability to make it – all the way – to the very end – are finally gone. I’ve got this. All six of us camped here get up and hang out in the beautiful morning by the lake. My resentment of the dude-bros arrival last night has evaporated, and I spend the morning enthusiastically discussing gear and the trail and just generally dude-bro-ing it up myself. (We all have a little dude-bro in us.) J, like always, just rolls his eyes as I get into the nitty-gritty of tarp camping with Snake Charmer. I don’t care that we’re basically done. I really do just like to talk about gear.
Ambassador shows us this crazy sore on his back – like an infected pimple, but the size of a fist. Super-gnarly is the phrase that comes to mind… “You should go to a doctor ASAP when you finish, man.”
“Yeah, I know.” The sore is right beneath his hipbelt – it must hurt so bad. He tells us he’s lost sixty pounds on the trail. Snake Charmer bemoans the scraggly little goatee he’s managed to grow in five months of not shaving. ‘Merica sympathizes. J has nothing to contribute. We pack up, for the last time.
As soon as we leave the lake, we begin walking through a low section of forest, with no views, and nothing of interest. I see nothing anyways, blasting to the finish. Longest six miles EVER.
And then we’re there! ‘Merica, Snake Charmer, and Ambassador got there first, and they are passing around the drinks that ‘Merica packed in. (He may be a partier, but he’s absolutely a dedicated one.) We throw down our packs, beaming, unsure how to feel or what to think. But we made it!
We hear some hikers coming in – Biscuit has caught up – it’s SWITCH! Biscuit and Switch! She caught up! These two women have been some of my favorite hiking companions, and I’m so glad they’re here. We take pictures, and read the logbook, looking for friends, marvel at the silliness of the US Gov’t needing to clear-cut a swath of trees across the entire US-Canadian border, we eat the last of our snacks.
Finally, it’s time to go. The monument has been reached, but it’s another ten miles to civilization. I thought the last six miles were long… We run into our friend V, hiking back to Hart’s pass to hitch out. I’ve never seen someone so happy in my life.
At Manning Park we get ourselves a room at the lodge, run back into Smokey, Tintin, and Tailor, who successfully caught up. It’s done. We take the bus to Vancouver tomorrow.
‘Merica: “OK, you guys kneel down and hold onto my legs while I hold the flag for the picture!”
Switch and Biscuit: “Uhh….”
Me: “No, no, no! ‘Merica, you kneel down and hold onto Switch and Biscuit, and they’ll hold the flag.”
Switch and Biscuit: “Much better.”
‘Merica: “Well, I guess…”