Woke up this morning expecting to have condensation on our tent from being in a meadow, but instead woke up to very cold conditions…again. Hiking this time of year does have its advantages, but the cold is not one of them. A lot of people are up and about early today. I think most people are finishing their trips, so they are anxious to get on out of here. We decide not to light our campfire, because we don’t want to stay long enough to make sure it’s out. The “Carlsbad couple” seem to be a bit ahead of us in getting their camp packed up. The Eastern Europeans (camped right next to us) are just now emerging from their tents. I think they are going the other way, so I can only imagine they’re probably not too motivated to climb that pass today. The “party group” people are surprisingly almost all gone.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Psalm 42:1 NIV
The map says it’s 10 miles to Road’s End, but the signs posted out here say 12. We are hoping for 10, but preparing for 12. We know that we are not far behind the “Carlsbad couple”, but also know there is no way we will catch up. It is mainly all flat and downhill. I am actually pretty fast at those, but downhill for miles can be very brutal on your feet and knees. Much worse than climbing. Plus, remember, I actually am the slowest hiker on the planet.
We see tons of bear scat today filled with Elderberries. It is all just right in the middle of the trail. We have a lot of blind corners and areas that you cannot see very far in front of you. I keep a close watch and click my trekking poles together every few steps. Step, click click, step, click click. Over and over. My early warning system. We are coming, so move on out! Oh…please do not let me run right into a bear. It’s our last day and I want to be able to eat my hamburger and fries.
I have only had my gluten free blueberry pop tart today and I am determined to make it back to Cedar Grove for lunch. I am a woman on a mission.
The seam on my sock is really bugging me, but I just stay focused on my hamburger and fries. I will deal with it later. I am just putting it out of my mind and staying focused on the finish line.
There are many bridges in this section. I am not sure why that is, but I appreciate them and all the easiness they bring to water crossings! Again, just makes it faster to getting back to my hamburger and fries. We start to see a few people and I know that we are getting closer now. This is when I make my final video of the trip and the reality that we actually did it starts to set in. We are getting more trips under our belts and I am excited to see what the future holds. I am gaining more confidence in my ability that no matter how hard a hike is, I can do it. It might take me a long time (no…it will take me super long), but I can do it! That is a great feeling!
Our ending is uneventful and we are happy that the car is still here and not shot up! We left almost nothing in it, so bears did not bother it either. We actually go use the pit toilets and instantly regret that decision. I would much rather go behind a tree.
My boots come off and to my surprise, there is a big huge blister on my toe. It looks like my toe grew a brain today. I have no supplies to deal with it, so I have to leave it. We drive to Cedar Grove to get our hamburgers and fries. The “Carlsbad couple” is here eating lunch too. We get to the counter to order our food and find out they do not have any fries! What? How can this be? I have been thinking about them all day. I then ask for a salad. I have not had any veggies in 6 days. That sounds amazing now. Nope! Out of salad. Please dear Jesus let them have hamburgers or someone might die. But I am too tired, hungry, and sore to kill anyone so they would get a pass today. But luck (and Jesus) was on all of our sides and they had hamburgers!! We can barely walk and as we see the “Carlsbad couple” getting up, they can barely walk too. You can tell who has just finished hiking, because no one can walk. It’s pretty funny to watch and I am one of them. I am soo tired and hungry that I forget to take off my sun hat, buff, or jacket. At least I remembered to wash my hands. We smell pretty bad, but I really could care less. My hamburger tasted incredible.
We say our goodbyes and wish the “Carlsbad couple” well. Funny to come all the way out here to meet people you live by. We drive to Bakersfield and get a hotel room for the night. I do some surgery on my toe with a proper needle and alcohol. After hot showers, we put on some dirty clothes and set about to finding ourselves some fries. As we sit on our hotel bed watching TV, stuffing our faces with fresh hot fries, I cannot think of a more perfect way to end this pretty epic trip!