10/26: 2.1 mi (2.1 – 0.0)
As our son wouldn’t arrive till after 9 am, there was no reason to NOT sleep in. Only problem was that it’s hard to do when you are excited about the finish. With only 2.1 miles to go, we needed to time our finish so that our son and his fiancé could meet us at the southern terminus. So, we actually walked NOBO on the trail for a couple 10ths of a mile to give ourselves a stealthy view of any vehicles headed to the monument. While there, we laid in the dirt and reminisced.
Once our son passed, we set off like horses to the barn.
With exactly 2 more miles to go, in unison, we yelled…”2 MORE MILES!”
We, of course, thought our last miles would be fairly straight forward and easy. Ha! Why would we ever think that would be the case with the CDT?
The CDT actually weaved through some of the densest brush and pokey plants we had been through thus far.
With the CDT signs still oriented for NOBO thru-hikers, finding the signs became ever more difficult. It took us an hour to go ONE MILE!
Eventually there was one mile to go, and then, thankfully, every other CDT sign became oriented for us SOBOs. By then, the metal palapa next to the border fence and the southern terminus monument were in view. We whooped and howled like banshees.
As we walked under the metal palapa, we were greeted and congratulated by a unique young man who had been camped there for several days and was “waiting” for a “ship” to land. What are the chances that an actual “crazy” person would meet us at the monument at Crazy Cook Corner, in addition to our son and his fiancé?
Broad smiles filled our faces as Paul and I finished together and touched the monument. Jan finished right behind us.
In no time we dropped our packs and chugged congratulatory beverages.
A mix of emotions raced through our beings. It was surreal at best. We were done. We, had completed the second of the triad of the triple crown of hiking. A trail we never thought we would ever attempt, let alone complete. This brutal trail had come to a finish. We had survived! For Jan, this was an especially emotional moment. He had completed the CDT, his first thru-hike ever, and honored his three fallen brothers in arms.
With all said and done, we of course were also tired, excited and ravenously hungry! We practically inhaled the Subway sandwiches that our son had brought. After each of us spent some personal time at/with the monument, and after an emotional group hug, we clamored into our son’s truck. It was time to head for home.
Jan had arranged for a flight out of Phoenix, Az for the following day. Thus, on our way back to So Cal, we would drop Jan at a hotel near the airport, but not without a stop at Sonic for a final calorie dense shake. By the time we arrived at Jan’s hotel, we had regretted the shake… once again. We couldn’t help but laugh. Our parting, however, was such sweet sorrow.
A journey of a lifetime, shared because of a singular post on Facebook whilst looking for a “hitch” on a permit for Glacier National Park. An enduring friendship/kinship was the post’s result. What are the chances?