The Last Meal and the End
Day 138 (instead of day 136; I had miscalculated the days): 10 miles. Mount Laguna to Cibbets Flat Campground
I woke up at 05.30 though I could have slept longer. I heard Clean Shave leave and quickly fell asleep again.
We got up and had a breakfast in the cabin. The café at Mount Laguna was unfortunately closed. We went to the store that was the most expensive on the trail. Just a bag of mashed potatos cost 4 dollars. I bought just a couple of meals, an ice cream and a couple of fruit. We went back to the cabin and left it exactly one minute before the checkout time.
Back at the store we met Rocksolid, Hermano and two other SoBos. They were planning to finish the day after. We hiked a bit with Rocksolid and talked about the guy who lost his life 2020 – Rocksolid had hiked with him and his name was still in the trail register. We talked also about crazy things that happened on the trail and the records without showering. I had to go to poop and Rocksolid was gone – as with so many hikers you see them for the last time when you don’t know it will be the last time, you just end up hiking in different speeds and then they are gone without sentimental goodbyes.
We hiked the relatively easy trail a few hours. I listened to a podcast about Covid-19 and how most American high school kids are mentally prepared for school shootings, a very depressing episode. We came down to the campground and learned you have to pay 14 dollars for camping even if you don’t have a car. We payed it to a ranger and had dinner by a picnic table. I enjoyed eating chips with a spoon and eating a Snickers before the dinner because I still could. Soon it would be necessary to get used to normative eating habits.
Day 139: 13 miles. Cibbets Flat Campground to tentsite near Lake Morena Trailhead
At night there was a car keeping the engine on for an hour. Finally at 12.30 a.m. I heard the car drive away. I think some car camper was too cold to camp that night.
At the morning we got up only at 06.30 and had breakfast by the picnic table. A man camping next to us came to ask how we had slept. Very good, we said. It was indeed the warmest night in maybe a month. The man said he had been freezing the whole night in his car with a double sleeping bag setup and that the thermometer had shown 28 F in the morning. Well if that was the warmest night in a long time I wonder what temperatures we have been sleeping in.
We planned to hike a very short day to get a breakfast at the Lake Morena Malt Shop the following day. So we chilled our way there stopping once in a while in the sun. It was quite warm and I was actually sweating in the sun. We took a lunch nap laying on top of some huge logs. We had a table for both the breakfast and lunch which was quite luxurious.
It was only after 3 p.m. when we approached the Lake Morena and Nine Beers suggested we’d walk the 0.6 miles to the store and buy some beers to have at the camp. We did that and had some snacks. Crazy dogs were barking from us from the gardens of the village. We sat then drinking beer and having dinner in the middle of the bushes in a place that was almost somebody’s backyard and some dog walkers were looking at us with suspicion.
We camped early, Nine Beers was watching a Netflix series in her tent and I was listening to a book before we went to sleep, as it was too cold to just sit outside.
Day 140: 15 miles. Lake Morena to tentsite at mile 2649
It was one of the coldest nights and again I was shivering in my tent with my head inside my quilt. Eventually you need to stick out at least your nose to breath but the cold air gets into the quilt immediately. By midnight the tent was frozen again, and in the morning even the quilt was frozen.
We got up late at 8, and walked to the store in Lake Morena where we could have breakfast. We shared an omelette and a Belgian waffle, and ordered some grilled sandwiches to take away. Not 5 stars gourmet exactly but better than another tuna smashpotato. The sandwich came with fries and we stuffed them in ziploc packs to safe place.
We walked the beautiful sunny mountain up and came down to Hauser Creek by lunch. It felt surreal to be there as I had imagined how it would feel to get to this first stop thinking I’d hike NoBo in 2020.
We hiked some more miles until it had gotten dark. The path was surprisingly narrow and rocky so we had to be careful when walking in the dark.
We sat our tents and drank our beers we had bought in Lake Morena and ate our last dinner – freeze dried lasagna that had been our favourite of the backpacker meals. We tried also to roll some joints but as we are amateurs they didn’t burn very well. We answered even the 24 questions for the 24 hour challenge, the questions that we made up with the Dolphin Gang back in Cascade Locks when drunk. It had questions like “Why are NoBos going wrong” or “What would you eat for your last meal”. I replied lasagna, red wine, and brownies for that. Nine Beers wanted to have pizza.
We went to sleep in our tents for the last time on the trail.
Day 141: 5,5 miles. Tentsite at mile 2649 to the Mexican border
We woke up and for a surprise the tents weren’t frozen! The night had been nice and warm for once.
We started hiking at 06.30 and stopped on the trail for the last oatmeal breakfast. We didn’t believe it was the last day.
We walked to Campo and as Nine Beers wanted her sister to get to the border before us to cheer us we went to the store in Campo and bought the last Coca-Cola and Oreo ice cream. From now on we’d need to limit our sugar intake drastically. We sat on the ground and the wind was blowing like crazy.
Then we started walking the last mile and just as we turned from the road the sister passed us with a car. The wind got really crazy and we were just shouting like the crazy day when we had almost fallen off the mountain. We were howling like coyotes and almost running up to the monument. I was asking: “Is THIS the last climb?”, the question that we had been asking in every uphill for the last days. Spoiler alert: no, the last uphill comes when the trail ends.
We touched the border and I might have let out some swear words collapsing in front of the monument while Nine Beers was just jumping around happily. Then we did the classical climb on top of the monument thing although the wind almost blew us to the ground. Nine Beer’s sister had some Mimosa for us so we popped the champagne and filled some glass jars with it and orange juice. Since the wind was insane (with gusts of 60 mph) we had to go to the car and drink it there. Then we drove away and as there was a crazy bump in the road the Mimosas in our hands just flew all over the car seats.
We drove to San Diego and had some Margaritas on the beach, the thing I was dreaming of doing since I started the hike.
The hike was really over, we had made it one way or another. If this walk had required nothing then nothing required anything.
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Congratulations!!! I enjoyed reading about your adventures. I’m happy you and NB made it.
Good job, what a summer. Tons of snow to start. Crazy amounts of mosquitoes. Mountain fires. You persevered, you conquered. Y ou are officially a badass. You totally own the joy you deserve. Happy and sad is the completion. High five.
Congratulations to you and nine beers. Enjoyed reading a sobo adventure. Margaritas on a San Diego beach. Hope it was pleasant weather.
Proud of you both. Well done