East Glacier (26_154)
Day 167 – 10/5/17
Miles – 20.0
Total miles – 2582.6
At 2:10, we made it to the Canadian border! The Ravens have completed our second long trail.
It was another cold night. Knowing this was the last night of the trail for us, we woke early with great anticipation. We were up before dawn and on the road toward the border. No one every came by to collect the campground fee. Maybe the campground was closed for the winter. In an hour or so, we came upon AJ and Dundee still in there tents watching the sun rise. From the front doors of their tents, they had magnificent views of Chief Mountain. AJ did not even sleep in his tent. He slept his last night on the CDT under the stars. Dundee told us that the road was closed at Glacier National Park boundary and we would have four miles of snow to walk through. Knowing that they would catch up to us, we continued on. For the first 10 miles, the road was well traveled by vehicles and thus clear of snow. This made the walking easy, although it hurt our feet. Over the next few hours, we hiked northwest back toward Canada. Dundee past us but not AJ. The sisters were up ahead. A border patrol truck past us heading toward the border. It will be good if the truck cut a path through the snow for us. When we got to the park service gate, the truck was coming back and we had a nice cut path through the snow. We set off though the slushy tire tracks and an hour and a half later we could see the border crossing before us. The sisters and Dundee were there taking pictures as we walked up. With a round of celebratory yells, we crossed into Canada. We took out our drinks and toasted our completion of the CDT. We all carried a special drink from East Glacier to celebrate. We took family pictures around the monument with the border clear cut in the background. As we ate a snack, the sisters started back and soon AJ showed up. He took his time to reach the border because he wanted to savor every last step of the trail. He completed the trail one day before his twenty first birthday.
The CDT is nothing like the PCT. It is far harder both mentally and physically. There were far more moments of wanting to call it quits. With each hiker we knew who did decide to go home, we understood why. For some reason or another, we were able to keep going forward.
Finally it was time to turn around and head back down the trail/road. All of us are hoping a vehicle would come by and somehow be able to give all eight hikers, that made it to the border today, a ride down the mountain. Several hours later, we had left the closed road, we were walking the open portion when a pickup truck past us heading toward the border. That was a good sign. Since it was a dead end road, the truck has to pass us again to go the other way. A short time later, it showed up and stopped. They offered us a ride down. So The Ravens, Dundee, and AJ all piled in the back and down the mountain we went. A little while later, the truck stopped to pick up the sisters. When we reached Hwy 89, they offered to drive is all the way to East Glacier. Of course we took them up on that. We all put on coats and pulled out our sleeping bag to use as a blanket. It was an hour drive in the back of a pickup truck with the sun setting and freezing temperatures. With cramped legs and frozen hands and faces, we made it to town. We walked over to the Dancing Bears Inn were we stayed four days ago waiting out a winter storm. Consequently, we even got the same room.
Tomorrow another winter storm is coming in with very high winds and lots of snow so forecasted for this weekend. We finished just in time. We know there are a few more hikers still out there, including our friends Napoleon, Red Cross, Hot Rod, Spam, and Phish Out of Water. Our thoughts are with them as they complete the adventures. Now we have to figure out how we will get home.