It was a late night alright, but it was really the screeching of the trains during the night that left me haggered and gritty feeling in the morning. Luckily there is coffee. Coffee and indoor plumbing at the Summit Lodge.
I packed up my camp, pitched in the forest by some of the cabins with the other thru hikers, and was ready to head back to the trail with Mountain Spice by 8 in the morning. We said our goodbyes to people we may not see ever again, or will run into randomly on a trail some where, and hopped into Beacon’s car, another hiker who had so generously offered to take us back to Many Glacier.
While Mountain Spice dozed in the back, I furtively tried to get a few last things done on my phone as the 4G connection went in and out with the curves and hills of the road. By 9:30 we were back where we had been just the day before and preparing for the last 2 days of the trail.
I had already gotten my permit to camp at Elisabeth Lake, and once Mountain Spice had her permit lined up (we would be finishing at different spots on the Canadian Border), we set off, saying our goodbyes and hiking up and out.
The wind is fierce today, and at times I couldn’t hear anything but the rushing of air as I climbed up towards Ptarmagin Tunnel. This was a popular trail and I passed many day hikers out to enjoy their version of Glacier. My hike would take me through a tunnel that had been blasted through a mountain. As it is closed some parts of the year due to snow, I counted myself among one of the lucky ones that got to walk underneath the rocky pass.
The other side showed a gently sloping trail leading to my camp at Elisabeth Lake. It would be a short day, and I am grateful for that. Still tired from my lack of sleep I envisioned getting to camp about 2pm, setting up my shelter, taking a nap, and reading the afternoon and evening away. And that’s just about exactly what happened.
I’m on the shores of the lake, but the wind is so strong I feel as though my tarp will be ripped to shreds. I’m enjoying this last night on the trail as a solo experience. It seems a fitting way to end the hike: I began solo, spent 90% of the trail hiking and camping by myself, and I’ll end this journey the same way.
I am hiding from the wind and imagining what it will be like to see Kirk tomorrow after 5 months, I’m so excited!
I’m glad I took the time to do this hike. I can’t imagine not backpacking, it has become as much a part of my identity and sense of purpose as anything else one is compelled to do again and again in their life. I am not sure what my next hike will be, but I will hike, and I have a feeling I’ll need it as much as I needed the CDT.
But now, life at home sounds so delicious!