After going to bed dead set on pushing past hwy 18 at mile 265, and finishing where I started last year at van dusen mile 275, our alarm clock went off and i couldn't move. Grant was practically unconscious. I got up to pee and everything ached. I told grant I was over it, and we would just get out in a few miles where everybody else gets out. He said we should sleep in then. After tossing and turning, we finally got up, inspired by future cold beer,had a leisurely morning drinking a cuppa coffee, other morning duties, everything! Started walking at 0700. Boy what a long glorious morning that was!
As soon as we started walking my mood lifted and my body aches melted away. My blisters weren't bad. I was walking on sunshine, and really fast. I forgot to mention that the previous day or two I named my blister(s) "sunshine" so umm, yeah. Lots of time on trail with my own thoughts, haha.
Anyhoo, I started regretting changing my mind about our day, especially since I had dumped water to save weight on our 3 mile walk. I told grant I wanted to continue after all, and he said we would get to the highway, tape his blisters and think about it. He was not as happy, prob because he didn't name his blisters sunshine. His are named more like "whywontyoufingbastardsquittorturingmeandgoaway" he also blamed me for our late start, ehem.
Back to my regret about the water(prob still had enough, but you know) I came across a bag hanging in a tree that said PChikers. I reached in and found cold bottled waters! Yay trail magic, I definitely could continue my hike!!! Woohoo.
Rolled into mile 265 at 0900, and grant spent half an hour working on his feet. Meanwhile we watched as carloads of hikers came and went with presumabely trail angels. Basically we were watching all our chances for a free ride come and go as we taped our feet and hemmed an hawed.
Some of our trail friendly acquaintances rolled out of a car with water for the (unexpected) water cache and told us tales of how awesome it was at papa smurf's house and they were slack-packing to van dusen with a ride at the other end. Well, that sealed the deal for me. Then we ran into some other other friends. It was hiker rush hour, and made me so happy. This trail is so funny. Everything happens for a reason. Getting a late start meant we ran into all these people and we mentally were able to keep going!
Hiking hard and fast on groomer trails, we arrive 10 miles later at Van Dusen road, mike 275.2. At about 2pm. There was a crowd of about 15 hikers there, some continuing on, but about 8 waiting for a ride from Papa Smurf. We saw some Warrior friends who gave us the scoop on where the rest of the crowd were staying. I had felt terrible because everyone was so nice trying to get us to stay at papa smurfs or the hiker hostel, when all I wanted was a nice hotel room to myself. At the same time sad at missing out on making friends and all the commaraderrie. Well, this was our perfect excuse, meeting up with our friends!!! Not really an excuse at all as true, but all the same.
We could see there was no way we would fit in a car with all those people, and while bs'ing watched two trucks go by, so we abruptly said goodbye, and started walking down the 3 mile dirt road to try to hitch.
The first truck pulled over and apologized for not having room. They really were packed to the gills with some serious car camping gear. We smiled and said of course it was no problem that they couldnt give is a ride, when grant spotted a cooler. He asked if they had a beer to sell us. The guy smiled and said no, but he could give us a beer. Score! Ice cold too, some tallboy dutch lager we had never heard of. Best beer ever :)
One more jeep pulled over to apologize for no room, and then papa smurf rolled up. He asked why we weren't waiting with everybody else, and we told him we didn't think he would have room. He said there is always room, just hop on the back like a fire truck. We told him we would catch him on the flipside maybe. About a half hour later he rolled up, and sure enough we climbed onto his narrow bumper, held onto his roof rack, packs on and poles on the roof, and slowly went down the dirt road in the overloaded car. Aren't we too old for this? Laughing all the way only moderately worried for our lives...
Papa smurf divided up everybody into different cars at the bottom where his wife Mountain Mama was waiting, then gave us a ride all the way to the hotel, after dropping people off at the store and hostel, while mountain mama took people to their house. She even called to ask if anybody wanted In and Out burgers! Freaking angles. I asked papa smurf if anybody had ever told him they were saints. He said it was all in the service of the glory of god. Whatever, not our scene, but we were incredibly grateful and gave him cash for the ride.
Got a sweet deal on our room. Asked for a shower and refrigerator and said we would like 2-3 nights, and BTW, we are friends with the warriors staying there. Didn't ask the price, but she told us she gave us a small upgrade, and it would be $62 plus tax. We rolled into our room and I fell to the floor, pack and all, and cried it was such a nice room. Living room with a hot tub, separate bedroom with king sized bed, bathroom with shower with a seat (great for scrubbing after a week without a shower) plus the fridge and microwave we asked for :) my god, our place in heaven.
Ate at the brewery then got in touch with the warriors (who hadn't checked out after all) and had a long headache inducing night with them all the way til 8:30 at night. Whoa.
OK heaven, we have arrived!
Pictures on instagram