Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Into Manning Park and beyond

It was cold at night. Not the coldest it has ever been so far, but cold enough. My sleep was as usual - not sound. But I'm used to it by now. When the alarm went off at 5:00 I was relieved to finally start my final day of hiking.
Last night I learned that the bus to Vancouver doesn't go through Making Park at 11:15, but instead goes by there at 10:10. So I needed an early start to get there even earlier than I thought.
I also forgot to do two things at the monument - I forgot to drop the stone I got at Big Bear, around mile 266, on the lowest time I had on the trail. I also forgot to have a photo by the monument with the letters I received from the 7th graders, in the care package Idan and I got from Helen. It was time to do those two things in the morning.
It was still completely dark outside, and the tent was damp. I didn't mind. I won't be sleeping in it anytime soon. I packed up quickly, because Lighthouse wanted to move out for his 30 miles day as fast as he can. We walked together to the monument, and got the photo with the letters. My camera decided it was the proper time to have no battery, so we used Lighthouse's phone instead. I also left the stone inside the monument.
We hugged and went our separate ways, and Lighthouse started his long journey back to Hart's Pass, while got back to the campsite to finish folding my wet tent and head out myself. I finally left camp at 6:00. Early enough.
My fingers got really cold at first, while I was hiking in the darkness with my headlamp. I held my hiking poles under my arm and put my hands in my pockets. That helped, though it slowed me down. Eventually it got a bit warmer, so I started hiking normally.
I found it strange that the signs still called this trail the pct. Right at the campsite where I slept, there was a sign with an arrow pointing south, to "Monument 78", and another arrow pointing north to the "PCT". The Canadians got it all wrong.
The Canadians got it backwards
The trail climbed up for a few miles, to the next campsite, and finally reached a dirt road and started the long descent down to the park. It was mostly an easy walk, and I got to the final section, of the paved road, just as Red Light got there. We walked together and reached the lodge at 8:45. Plenty of time before the bus comes.
We heard we needed to buy tickets for the bus online, so we hurried to the main building to get the Wi-Fi and to ask about it. We found out you can't buy tickets online so close to the arrival of the bus, and that we'd have to get on the bus, and pay at a later stop. OK. I did manage to sneak in a few Wi-Fi moments to send my wife a message I have finished the trail. That was the most important thing.
Idan walked into the lobby. He got here yesterday, and spent the night at the hostel. We both congratulated each other for the completion of our journey. I wanted to try and grab a quick shower at the hostel, so after asking around I went looking for it. I failed miserably, but a park employee stopped by with his car, and told me I could shower in the swimming pool for $5. He gave me a ride back to the lobby, and I finally got my shower. That was nice.
I still had 40 minutes left until the bus came, so I had the breakfast buffet at the restaurant. Eggs, hash browns and pancakes. I'm going to have to stop eating like this soon. The bus came around right on time, and I got on it, along with Idan, Darwin and Red Light. We had to leave an ID with the driver, until our next town stop, where we bought the tickets to Vancouver. Apparently, the Greyhound office over there is located inside a bowling alley.
After a long ride to Vancouver, a long wait at the bus station there, and another long ride to Seattle, I finally reached it at 22:15. It was tiring. Frank picked me up from the city, and into his and his wife’s Nancy house in Redwood, where I crashed for three nights. I later crashed for three more nights with Yulia, Dima and Nick in Bellevue, before finally taking off back to Israel on the 20th.
I toured around Seattle a bit in that week, just sight seeing the down town area on foot. I met up with Lighthouse for a couple of days, and also bumped into Rock Ocean, just as he was bringing in Ball Buster, Tick Tock, Slaughterhouse and Dewey from Hart’s Pass. We even had a short sailing in Elliot Bay.
Sailing in Elliot Bay
All in all I think I had plenty of relaxing time in Seattle to ease me back into society. I also had another week back home before getting back to work, so I currently don’t feel too weird or out of place back in the big city. In fact, I sometimes feel weird about how not weird it all is, like driving a car, or walking around Tel Aviv.
Back home after a very long trip