Day 125: 19 Miles
Last days on trail are always a little bit weird, but I think Piñata would agree with me that this was the best one of all. We started the morning messing with him a little bit, refusing to get up early even though he was antsy. We had hot coffee with hot chocolate for breakfast, along with breakfast burritos we packed out from Many Glacier. We visited with some weekend backpackers over breakfast, then got hiking shortly before 8:00.
We had one more pass to tackle, Red Gap Pass, which was aptly named. The views were just as great as the other high passes in Glacier, complete with high winds and a little rain.
At the top of the pass we were greeted with a rainbow and even more wind.
We made our way down as quickly as possible and the terrain was flat until the final 2 miles to the border. We kept a pretty grueling pace, and Z even took off running at one point. We followed for awhile but eventually gave up. Piñata, Yoda and I kept a brisk hiking pace through the light rain, just enough to keep warm with the cool wet breeze.
It felt like a full circle day on the CDT. The wind blew, it rained, it was cold, the GPS route was wrong for a little while, and we even got to walk along a fence for awhile. The only thing missing was cows. We saw quite a few weekend hikers out but refused to slow down to chat with any of them. When they saw us coming they mostly just got out of the way with a quick hello as we blasted past them. The final mile was misty and looked an awful lot like fall.
Finally we emerged out at the trailhead where Z was waiting, and ran down the road to the border monument located in between the customs checkpoints of Canada and the USA.
It was cold, so we were pretty quick about it, then returned to the trailhead for some celebratory whiskey (thanks Dad) before trying to get a ride back to East Glacier.
There wasn’t a lot of traffic on the road, and we heard some hikers had to hitch for hours before getting a ride, so we were expecting it to take awhile and possibly even multiple hitches. As luck would have it, I heard a car coming, ran out and stuck out my thumb, the driver stopped and said she could take all of us down to East Glacier! She was a crazy driver, but we made sure all our seatbelts were functional before we left, and she at least stayed on the road and we made it back in one piece. We even saw cows on the road, so the CDT truly felt complete! Back in town we met up with Enigma, who finished a day ahead of us, and we all celebrated together. We actually saw a lot of hikers in town who are getting ready to go into Glacier, including a few we haven’t seen in well over a thousand miles. Tomorrow morning we get on a train for a 46- hour travel odyssey back to the real world.