Today was the day I had dreamed about for two years. Monument 78 was in my sights.
The International Boundary Commission has placed roughly eight thousand monuments along the US-Canada border. The PCT’s Northern Terminus is right next to the silver Monument 78. And I was almost there.
I bundled up in all my layers. The couple in the next tentsite took a picture of me next to the U.S. BORDER sign. And I was off.
The next three miles of trail were unremarkable, except for perhaps twenty blowdowns. All those did was slow me down…I paid them no mind. I just kept walking.
And then, I rounded a corner, and saw a glint of silver between the trees. Monument 78!
A couple hundred yards later, and I was at the Northern Terminus. I hugged it tight. And I wept. And I didn’t stop for awhile.
I had the clearing to myself. So I took some pictures, including a good selfie. And I read the trail register, which had lots of friends’ names in it. I signed my name, with a dedication.
A goodbye to the Northern Terminus, and I shouldered my pack, stepping into Canada.
In the movies, a hiker would step into Canada and have a short walk downhill to the end of the trail. The PCT didn’t get the memo, and the trail goes up four miles before heading down another four. I turned on my music, planning to just jam out the last bit of the trail. Finally, the slope trended down, with a couple of forest road miles and a couple of flat trail miles. The forest road didn’t do my leg any favors, but I didn’t care at all.
At five miles, somebody had left a greeting for the hikers. I grinned all over.
I saw a German couple going uphill on the forest road, and they asked if I was Liz. I said yes, and did you see my husband? So I knew that he had been at the trailhead. I kept going.
At 4:00, I hit the road. Steve wasn’t at the trailhead, so I hung a right and went down 1 km to Manning Park Resort. I made it as far as the lodge parking lot, and there he was. Again, I wept.
I signed the register at the front desk, and found a great note from Tim and Tyler. And I counted several other friends’ names. It was mighty cool to see.
Tonight’s agenda was bubbly, relaxation, and a nice dinner. And an incredible amount of gratitude, especially for Steve, without whose love and support I could never have completed my hike.