Thursday, September 6, 2018

Day 142- This Is The End My Friends

Monday August 03, 2018
Poia Lake CG(alt 7.3) to Canadian Border(27) 
19.7 Miles 
Total Miles: 2,696.3
Elevation: 5,327 ft

No more sleeps! Piñata is notoriously anxious to get started in the morning. Straws told him he wasn’t allowed to get up until he heard me pop my pad and she started to move. I decided to have a little fun with him. I woke up, smoked a cigarette, and quietly deflated my pillow. I could see his head poking out of his quilt watching me. I dragged out my morning routine as long as I possibly could. The minute I popped my sleeping pad he was up and poking Straws to get up. I might have taken a little too much joy in torturing him, but I know Straws and Z appreciated the extra sleep. We had planned on getting up early to watch the sunrise, but we didn’t have a good view. We made due with making coffee in the food prep area. I had the brilliant idea of packing out breakfast burritos from Many Glacier. Z, Straws, and Piñata cooked there’s in olive oil over a camp stove. Surprisingly I was still full after all the food I ate last night. I stuck to my coffee drink and a few Hostess chocolate donuts. We were joined by a foursome who we did not see last night. Every Labour Day weekend the Mom, Dad, adult daughter, and husband do a hike in Glacier. They were really friendly and we enjoyed their company. The large group that overran the food prep area last night looked extremely put out that we had taken over the area. The best moment was when the older man said very disparaging, I don’t think those kids will be up very early, they only hiked six miles yesterday and got to camp early. We were all thinking the same thing and did not say anything. If anyone has stock in REI, you must have seen a good increase after these folks bought all of their new gear. We really try not to be hiking snobs, but sometimes people make it hard to not judge them. 
We took our time enjoying our last morning in camp, but Canada wasn’t going to come to us. It was time to earn my triple crown. We started our last day a little before seven o’clock. It looked to be an easy day of hiking. We had one major pass, Red Gap Pass, to hike over. The weather forecast for the day wasn’t great. It looked like we would have to deal with wind, rain, and cold temperatures. It seemed like a fitting end to the CDT. 

Poia Lake

The first couple of miles were super easy. We followed the edge of the lake for awhile, before following a creek. Eventually the nice flat trail turned into a climb. I could see Red Gap Pass in the distance and I was more than excited to get up and over before the weather rolled in. The clouds were beginning to look ominous. The farther we hiked the more you could feel each other’s excitement. It was just bubbling under the surface. 

On the way up to the Pass 

The only place where the wind was truly atrocious was at the top of the pass. It had also started to drizzle/snow. I could barely keep my footing as the wind pushed me all around. Z and I waited at the top of the pass for Straws, and Piñata. It was a good thing we didn’t have to wait very long. I was absolutely freezing. 

Panoramic views on the climb up to Red Gap 

Weather at the top


The less than ideal weather at the top of the pass was totally ok with me. It wasn’t very pleasant to hike and stand in, but the sweet rainbow was perfect. You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain. 

So vivid

The hike down the pass was very interesting. The small amount of drizzly rain had turned into a tiny hailstorm. I took a projectile directly to my eye. The wind came close to blowing me off the mountain several times, but I was still smiling ear to ear. 

Shit eating grin 

We made it about three quarters of the way down from the pass before we stopped for a break. We snuggled in amongst a groove of trees. I ate close to one thousand calories in a minute and a half. It was really cold and I regretted my meager breakfast. The calories helped to warm me up and the energy boost was very much appreciated. 

Almost to tree line 

Once we got back into the trees the wind didn’t seem as bad. We walked along the shore of Elisabeth Lake, which I took to be a good omen since that is my middle name. Shortly after passing the lake we ran into a ranger. He was really nice, but we really weren’t in a chatting mood. We were in a make miles mood. He asked to see our permits, which we had handy. He also was interested in where Piñata had collected the feathers in his hat. We explained that they were all found along the side of a road in a town(none where actually found in Glacier). He told us to take a few extra minutes to walk off trail to see a cool waterfall. I’m not really sure what possessed us to actually follow his advice, but the waterfall was really cool. 

Elisabeth Lake

Dawn Mist Falls 

We each collected water from the falls before heading out. I didn’t even touch that water for the rest of the hike. Once we passed the falls we were about eight miles away from the border. I could feel the excitement mounting in the group. We crossed over one more sketchy Indiana Jones style bridge and took our last break of the day. 

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom style bridge 

The rest of the way to the border/parking lot/monument is kind of a blur. I’m not exactly sure why, but we ran the remaining 6.5 miles to the end. I strongly suspect that it was because Sour Straws was in the lead. She has these insanely long legs that she uses to outpace everyone. For the most part she restrains herself from destroying us, but not today. I literally stopped to take a picture and when I looked up she was gone. I let Z pass me and then had to run to catch up. They set such a fast pace that I would have to run for a few steps, walk fast, then run again. Eventually the walking fast wasn’t enough and I was just running. The last few miles to the border we hiked in the rain. It wasn’t raining hard enough to soak me, but the temperature was dropping as well. Eventually Z just took off and Straws, Piñata, and I slowed down the pace slightly. Just before hitting the end of the trail we could see a parking lot. That parking lot was the end and we sprinted the last quarter mile. To be honest finishing at a trailhead parking lot was very anticlimactic. 

Just starting to rain

View from the rangers cabin

One last view

Last quarter mile

The final blaze and end of the trail 

Once we made it to the parking lot we just kind of stood there. I had a million things running through my mind. It didn’t feel like I was done. We walked down the street to the border crossing to take pictures at the monument. It was so cold and the rain had picked up so we didn’t linger. We took a few individual pictures and a group picture as well. 

America/Canada border

Yoda Buddha pose

Trying to act casual

Final picture and day 1 picture

Triple Crown picture. Look closely and you can see my 3 mini bottles of Crown Royal 

Group shot

We walked back down the trail to enjoy a little scotch, bourbon, and whiskey. We sat and laughed, but there were no tears. I’m not much of a crier and I still have unfinished business in Colorado. I’m sure once I make up my missing miles I’ll feel complete, but right now it doesn’t feel real. We got the worlds easiest hitch back to East Glacier. We barely even walked to the road before the first car driving past stopped to pick us up. It is the first time I’ve ever had the first car stop and pick me up. 

Clear cut marking the border 

I’m now back in Colorado and getting ready to connect my missing footsteps. I’ll fill you in on the rest of my final day and traveling to Colorado in my next post. For those of you who participated in my When Will Yoda Finish contest, I finished at 2:20 pm local time on Sept 03. 

“Starting something can be easy, it is finishing it that is the highest hurdle.”
- Isabella Poretsis


  1. What an adventure this has been. So sorry you couldn’t finish at the monument because of fires. You’ve hiked, hitch hiked, ran, fallen, hiked to ER, been cold, hungry, sore, tired, rained on, hailed on, snowed on and had to do a flip flop, and HYOH, you are awesome!! Thanks for the last day pictures. And, letting all your followers know you finished at the border. I know you don’t think you’re a true triple crowner until you make up the last hundred miles because of flip/ flop. But, you are a true triple. You are back on the trail in CO to make sure of that!! Will we get to see your shirt in about 5 days? Hike on, and always follow your heart. We are so proud of your will and determination. LU

  2. Congrats! you are amazing! Thank you so much for taking us along with you.
    I really like how you have the day one pic with the finish pic.
    Good luck!
    your fan in NH

  3. Congratulations Triple Crowner!!!!

  4. I love so much about the joy - the walking and running to the border - you share in this blog! Also love the line "Canada wasn't going to come to us." You are a Triple Crowner as well as a purist so back to Colorado you have gone to connect those missing footsteps. Hike on!

  5. You ROCK!!! I had no doubt that you’d finish strong -you inspire us all to set lofty goals and give our all to complete them in spite of obstacles along the way! Your quote today is so appropriate! May the Force always be your strength and guide!

  6. WOW! Congrats, Katie! Triple Crown! What a great achievement! And you shared your experience with us! Thank you! Proud of you and happy for you too!

  7. Congratulations on finishing the CDT and the hard earned trippl crown, Katie. I'm proud of you for your endurance along this trip. It's been amazing following you and I'm truly impressed by how you've handled all these quite different situations... I never doubted that you will finish it, regardless of what the trail has thrown in your way!

    Even though it seems to be very beautiful out there I don't think I will ever so that trail as well. All I really want to do is thru-hiking the AT again before I have to die one day. Maybe the PCT too but that's not in the near future...

    Wishing you all the best and keep on being such an awesome woman!

    From Germany with love,



  8. Awesome achievement! Thanks for taking us along. Maybe when you finish your connect the steps you’ll treat us to the unpublished end of the pct ☺️

  9. Congrats on your triple crown Katie!! You are amazing!! Once again I so enjoyed following your adventure.
    Margie & George

  10. Congrats on the CDT and the triple crown! I've enjoyed following along on all your hikes. Thanks for sharing with us.

  11. Congratulations Yoda! Triple Crown Hiker!! The welcoming rainbow is simply beautiful! Safe travels as you complete those remaining miles!
    Thank you for sharing your amazing & inspiring journey!! Enjoy!

  12. Congratulations, you are awesome!! Hope you will be blogging those last miles in CO. Safe trip home.

  13. Congratulations! What a wonderful achievement! It’s been so much fun following each of your hikes - thank you for sharing!