Noelle here:

Yesterday I drove into Canada. So freakin crazy that we’re finally here. I know there are still miles owed to California, but for now we’re here!

I left Rainy Pass and made it to Manning Park in the early evening.

The Northern Cascades looked just as beautiful from Canada as from Washington.

I camped at Lightening Lake Campground, near Manning Park Resort. It was a great campground with hot showers! No quarters necessary, just all the hot water I wanted. That alone was worth the drive.

I went to sleep fairly early, mostly because I was so excited to see Steve that I wanted the time to pass quickly. I was rudely awakened at some point by the scurrying of tiny feet over the roof of the van. Then I heard scratching in the cleaning supply cupboard. Damn mice. I tell you if I could have dynamited that cabinet, I probably would have. I was up all night, shining the flashlight, opening and closing cabinets, checking and rechecking. I saw a torn up roll of paper towels but no other proof of a rodent. This morning I searched again. No sign. Set traps, wiped everything down. I’m growing weary of this routine, but I hear from other van-life-ers that field mice are just part of the experience. Sigh.

Anyway I woke early, drove to a parking area near the trail and headed off to meet Steve at the monument!

It was fairly well marked and Guthook made it easy to take the right side trails to get to the PCT. I ate some thimble berries along the way. So delicious. I crossed a few bridges

And a small pond

Then I came upon a bear on the trail ahead of me! I grabbed out my phone and was just about to snap a picture when the bear stood up. Turns out it was a lady in black rain gear, going to the bathroom. So disappointing! I still haven’t seen a bear on this trip.

I chatted with her a while, congratulated her on completing her hike and went on my way.

A bit further, I saw the French Canadian couple. They were so very excited.

They still owe forty miles to Ollalie Lake, and will go there next week, but how exciting to get to the monument after all these months.

I kept going and met Carol and Linda, coming towards me. Linda stayed at Scout and Frodo’s with us and she and I hiked together our first full day on the trail. It was crazy to see her again. We’ve kept in touch on Facebook but hadn’t seen each other again. So very fun. They’ve decided that this is the end of their adventure, not heading back to the Sierras this year.

As I kept going the trail was muddy and tree covered but everyone coming towards me had huge smiles. It was hard not to catch their excitement.

As I drew nearer the monument, I could hear it before I saw it. Hikers were cheering for other hikers as they came around the bend and saw the goal of the last few months. So fun!

Of course I was the only one coming from “the wrong direction”, but even at the end they welcomed me to experience the moment with them. The German Girls were there when I got there. And a group of young men who I’ve been seeing off and on. Cheeks and Trouble got there, so I knew Steve wasn’t too far behind since they camped together last night.

I like how you can see the cut out border in the trees. Maybe a ten foot swath is cut out for as far as you can see.

Three more hikers got there and after the cheers, the moment turned serious. One of them had been a first responder when the tree fell on Finn. He had then carried Finn’s hat the rest of the way through Washington, taking pictures and videos of it along the way. Next week, he’ll take it to Finn’s family in Germany. All the hikers at the monument gathered around and I snapped their picture with the hat. It was a sobering moment.

More hikers arrived and celebrated and began their final trek into Canada.

Steve came around the bend and it was super exciting to see him! Yes, there will be some more miles, but for today, what an amazing accomplishment. He flipping walked here. Step after step, day after day. So amazing!

We sat around for a little while, then began the walk back to the van. We celebrated again as we walked up to it, as the day’s hike was then actually complete!