Monday, April 7, 2008

Fourth and Final Day on the Trail - April 6th

We woke to a clear blue sky and a good laugh over the windy ride I took in the hammock the night before. We were up early today, knowing we were on the last day. We enjoyed a great breakfast, which included oatmeal with a side of bacon.

We hiked the mile back down the road, to the group camp ground where we had left the trail the day before. We filled up our water bottles at the last set of bathrooms and got moving. We started off with a very long climb up out of the lake area, and on to the top of Cleghorn Ridge.
Here is a photo looking back to the lake right before we crossed over the ridge and out of sight. The top of the ridge was really nice. We saw several groups of people riding by on motorcycles and ATVs as we had a drink of water.

I am sorry to report that my camera died right after taking the photo above. I saved what little bit I had left in the battery to get one shot as we finished. I do have some photos of the remainder of the trail taken with my cell phone though. They may not be as crisp, but they will work.

We made good time again, as we traveled along the length of Cledghorn Ridge, and dropped into Little Horse Thief Canyon, and then Horse Thief Canyon and then the trail came to our last major land mark. A set of HUGE power transmission lines. We followed the trail signs across an area that was being used by at least a dozen ATVs, and motorcycles. After eating lunch we attempted to get back on the trail...seems like it should be easy enough. NOT REALLY! We wondered all over this motorcycle playground, asking every passerby and scanning the area for a trail sign. Finally after 45 minutes we finally spotted the trail up on a hillside and were able to figure out how to get on it...turns out we had been on it several times, but just hadn't gone far enough. We were only 4.5 miles from the finish line...we had a good laugh over it after it was over, but it was VERY frustrating being that close and not being able to find the trail head.

The rest of the trail was pretty much a blur, with the exception of this little Horny Toad Lizard I found sunning on the side of the trail. I froze when I saw him, and I waited for Nelius to come up behind me so I could show him my little find. After Nelius saw him, and he still hadn't ran away, I decided to get a closer look, and to my amazement the little guy let me pick him up, not once but TWICE! I picked him up once, then set him down, then decided it was worth a photo so I got my camera phone out and picked him up again. I have never seen a wild lizard so tame. I put him back on his rock and off we went.

Like I was saying, a blur. My feet were shot, with multiple blisters including one that had taken over my pinkie toe. The scenery was still as amazing as the rest of the hike, and we got a few more photos before we could see the freeway at the end of the canyon, signifying our adventure was complete.

Here is the last few feet of the trail before it heads off under the freeway and continues on for another couple thousand miles to the border of Canada.

I bet this McDonald's sign is a blessing for those thru hikers!

Here is Nelius, finishing up!

Here we are at the car, done.

Here was the final days route. Total hiking distance was roughly 14.5 miles.

In closing, Nelius and I had the times of our lives. We both agreed that there was a tremendous sense of accomplishment, but at the same time a little sad that it was all over. Hopefully we can get another one planned for next year...and everyone who thinks they can make it is invited!

I know Nelius has been wanting to do this hike for many years, and I was flattered that he let me join in on the adventure. This was one of the most fun experiences I have had. Nelius was terrific company, the scenery was unbelievable and the PCT, in my opinion, is one of God's greatest creations. What an amazing trail!

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