tiffany's pct journal

California Section A: Warner Springs to Campo (Mexican Border) - Part II.

Days: 145 - 147.
Dates: November 25 - 27.
Trail mileage: 2587.4 - 2653.1.
Distance: 65.7 miles.

The next day was windy, and I'm not talking about a nice breeze. No, it was definitely winds of 40 mph at certain points. I was going crazy.

view from the trail
The weather was nice, at least

You don't realize how obnoxious it is to not be able to even hear yourself think and almost get blown over constantly until you have to hike up Mount Laguna. I had a hard time walking in a straight line for a larger part of the day than I would like. It was also a very dry stretch, so I had to conserve water.

The climb wasn't nearly as steep as San Jacinto, but Mount Laguna may have caused just as many temper tantrums because of that crazy wind. When I checked at the end of the day, it seemed like I had done about 20 miles of uphill climbing that day in that wind. I was also hiking deep into the night most of these days now.

52-mile marker for NOBOs
I had walked 2600 miles somehow

I had initially planned on taking it slower, but a snowstorm was going to make an appearance on Thanksgiving, when I had planned to finish. I decided to try and finish either the day before or early morning Thanksgiving. I was ready to finish the trail, so most days I was pulling about 30 miles. No wonder I was so exhausted at the end of the day!

The next day, I got to the Lake Morena Campground and knew I was close to the end. I got water there, and ended up chatting with a guy who was camped there in his giant truck. It was exciting to tell someone in person who wasn't on the trail how close to being done I was. I took a side trip to the Oak Shores Malt Shop, a convenience store, just a quarter-mile off the trail to get some snacks for my last night on trail.

trail sign near Lake Morena Campground
The sign next to Lake Morena Campground told me I was less than a day away

A man walked into the store and asked if I was a hiker. Turns out, it was Waist Deep's dad. I told him I'd been hanging out with his daughter in town, and we chatted for a while. Then, he bought me all of my snacks. Your dad is awesome, Waist Deep! Thank you so much, sir!

I hiked as close as I could to the border so I could get there early the next morning. I was less than 5 miles away from the border at camp, and I could see helicopters, which I assumed were border patrol, as I got closer to camp. I finished my all-time favorite book, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, that final day, and I was in the best of moods.

At camp that night, I ate all of my junk-food-snacks I got from the malt shop, and really savored that last night on the trail. It was quiet as I camped alone, and felt even more quiet as I knew there weren't too many people left on the trail at this point.

Packing up camp the next morning was bittersweet. The previous several days, I had been so ready to finish. Now, I was only 4 and a half miles away from the end, and that felt too close. I had to get to the monument before noon if I didn't want to get rained/snowed on, so I had to get going.

I passed a couple of tents early on that day, which I found out later were Two Cup and Socks. Turns out they finished only an hour or so after I did.

3-mile marker for NOBOs
I was 2,647 miles from where I started

NOBOs really get a lot of mile-markers in the first half of their hike, and that last day was no different. I was told when I was 3 miles out from the border, and again when I was only 1 mile out. That last mile was both the longest and shortest and mile of the trail at the same time, by far.

1-mile marker for NOBOs
My last mile on the trail

Because it's so flat around the monument, I could see the monument about a quarter of a mile out from it. My partner was waiting for me there to drive us to San Diego after. I took my time that last quarter-mile, and focused just on the trail.

close to the end
Getting really close to the end

I genuinely didn't think I would cry when I reached the monument. But it hit me in that moment when I touched it that I had made it. I had somehow walked over 2650 miles, making a continuous footpath from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.

at the terminus
I didn't believe it until I touched the monument

I put my bag down and signed the trail register. The monument is next to a not-so-attractive barbed wire fence along the Mexican border. I saw that Ctrl+Z, Katie, and Waist Deep had finished the previous day. Ctrl+Z and Katie had left me a message, and I was going to miss seeing them every so often.

trail register
"I told myself I wouldn't cry, but like everything else on the trail, that didn't go according to plan. I cannot believe how lucky I am to be here. I never imagined I could do something like thru-hike the PCT. I love all of you who I met and who supported me out here, and I love the PCT, for giving me these last 5 months. Onto the next adventure. Congrats, SOBOs!!" feat. a lovely note from Ctrl+Z and Katie

My partner and I drove into San Diego, and I got a celebratory latte and cinnamon roll. I was going to miss eating whatever I wanted to all the time too. I was going to miss everything about the trail. I was ready to stop walking so much every day, but I wasn't sure I was actually ready to walk away from the trail yet.

coffee and pastry
I felt like I deserved this

But I was done. I had finished.

sitting at the terminus
I did it.

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