I slept terribly. I couldn’t lie on my sides because my body was in too much pain. I couldn’t sleep on my back because I felt like the sleeping bag was suffocating me. I couldn’t sleep on my front because I needed a wee and there was too much pressure on my bladder. After about an hour of being really uncomfortable I got out my tent and had a wee and went back to sleep comfortably on my stomach!
When 7am came around I heard a round of Happy Birthdays from everyone. Beer Goddess came into camp late last night after doing a 30 mile day to catch us up. We had agreed the night before to leave camp at 8am. Only 6 miles to the monument so we could have a leisurely morning. Everyone seemed to think it was one of the coldest nights so far but I thought it had warmed up slightly. I didn’t feel like my nose was going to fall off like I had on previous nights. I organised my snacks for the day.
I left camp a little earlier than 8 because I needed to drop off the kids, I didn’t want to carry them to Canada with me. This meant I was a bit ahead of the others and as it was all downhill to Canada I powered through the 6 miles in just under 2 hours. On the way I saw Hops and Camel making their way back to hearts pass. I’m pleased it wasn’t wet or raining because there was a lot of growth to walk through.
This is the USA on the left and Canada on the right. Marked by a cleared line of trees, difficult to see in the picture but you can see the little notch in the middle on the horizon…
I spied the monument through the trees and let out a huge whoop. Everyone will have heard that! I made it. I actually made it. I’m not sure how I felt. A whole mix of emotions. Relief. Happiness. Sadness. Joy.
I lifted the top off monument 78 which was so so heavy and found the trail register. Not very many names I recognised in there.
Everyone else started arriving and we had an epic photo session…
We toasted our success with cheap wine, root beer and British chocolate
I made this video which I will watch every time I need to smile because it never fails.
After an hour and a half it was time to hike the last 9 miles to manning park lodge. It’s weird getting to the monument and celebrating and then still having to walk 9 more miles! Bonus Miles, Light Feather, Farmer, Bumble and I stuck together for most of the way and once the 4 mile of uphill was out the way we cruised our way to the lodge. We even ran a bit. I had happy birthday sung to me. And Farmer picked up a snake.
We finally made it to the lodge where we split a room and went straight to get food. I was ravenous. Living on sugar and ramen for 4 days isn’t a good idea. I had a pulled pork burger which didn’t even touch the sides and a mini Yorkshire pudding dish. The serve Yorkshire puddings in Canada!!
I was still hungry! I made a rule of no phones at lunch so we didn’t all just sit there not talking to each other. But I got special birthday privileges and I was allowed to break my own rule and look at all the nice birthday messages I had been sent.
We all got clean, did some laundry and had precious Internet time and went for dinner. Time goes so quickly when you waste it on the internet! I sat by the fire in the lobby and by 10pm my eyes were starting to droop. I didn’t even make use of the hot tub! The room was dark and everyone was sleeping. They had left a whole bed just for me, more birthday privileges! After sleeping so badly the last few nights I spread out like a starfish, my body was exhausted and my mind was buzzing.
What a birthday! One I will remember forever. So, that’s it. I’ve made it to Canada. The end. Or is it?
I’m off to Vancouver for a few days for a little break, then I plan to go back to Stevens Pass and hike the section I missed which is now open. So, it’s not quite over just yet! The blog may continue, for a few more days at least!…