Day 164: Trail closed!?

Wed. 10/2/13
20 miles, Ross Lake Alternate
Rainy Pass – East Bank Trail Trailhead


Mushrooms with scenic hwy 20, our trail, in the background

I can hardly believe it. I’m in the Pickle Jar with Aloha and Tears as I write this. The Disco Pickle is road-tripping… to… Canada. It’s 11:25 pm and we’re on the… road? Sigh… wasn’t I supposed to have originally reached that monument today after hiking by foot? After a great day on the Pacific Crest Trail? Sometimes things just don’t pan out at ALL how you imagine.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel like a failure – at all – but I am working through a lot of emotions about everything I’ve been through this past week.


The beginning of our road walk was snowy, but soon turned to rain.

I imagined, or daydreamed, as I hiked mile after mile for over 160 days about what that day might be like – what it might feel like. The day I complete my PCT hike. I never, ever… in my wildest dreams… thought the adventure would end like this (it’s not quite over, but…). I was denied first by storms. Then we grouped up, coordinated and head out into the weather and trudged through waist-deep snow only to be turned around. Then we took an alternate. A detour including a road walk that would have to do. I came to terms with the decision. Then… were we really denied our goal because of a government shutdown? For real? Is this really happening?

After twenty miles hiking on a hard paved road in on-and-off rain, we finally arrived at the trailhead where we were about to head into the woods for the last thirty miles to Canada. We’d camp one more night in the states… in the woods under a cold Washington rain. We met Aloha and Fun Size’s girlfriend, Laura there, geared up and were almost ready to go when a white Park Ranger SUV pulled up. We joked that we were going to get kicked out. Yes, we joked. I was warming up in the car while a few other hikers talked to the rangers. It looked as though it was going fine. Laura came over to us and through the car window she looked at us and just said, “I’m sorry, you guys… this is it.”

Crushed. She wasn’t joking and neither were those rangers. Their arms were folded and they just kept shaking their heads and apologizing. We wished they would just turn their backs as we snuck through, but they were faithful to their careers and wouldn’t budge.


Trail closed...



As the two rangers continued to place temporary barricades around the trail entrance with yellow “do not enter” tape, a group of about ten of us just glanced around at each other, dumbfounded with eyes full of tears. This was really it. We hugged, we discussed options even though we knew we’ve already gone over them all, and decided to take some finale photos. We made the best of our situation in our limited time. We were told we needed to vacate the premises. We piled into the cars we had there and dispersed.


Our group of PCT finishers holding Lighthouse's American flag.

So we started the day with high spirits again, hiking along the road laughing, smiling, getting wet in the rain and collectively complaining about the pavement killing our feet. We ended once again in tears and disappointment. I’m mentally exhausted, physically tired, and I’m so ready to find the satisfying end to my hike. The plan now, which I feel satisfied with, is to drive to Canada, specifically Manning Park. Tomorrow morning Tears and I will hike the eight miles in to see the monument, take our finish photos, hike back out, celebrate a little, then go our separate ways until we meet up again back home. There’s other details in there to meet back up with Cuddles, Atlas and Manchurian who were lucky enough to get on trail before it closed, but I’m taking this all one small plan at a time.

It’s been another tough day for all of us, but I’m pretty darn excited to see that monument tomorrow, and I think the next thing I’m most excited to do is sleep in. A lot. This girl needs a good, long rest!

Tonight I love Canada! We’re here, eh!


Road walking to attempt a completed line to the border


The road left me with a sore left foot ball. Duct tape was the answer.


A perk to hiking the road? Weird finds that you can make up all kinds of stories about.


One sad daisy... just hangin' on.


Toots and Tears! Woo-hoo! We got as far as we possibly could go! Next stop? Canada... for reals, yo!


Our pre-monument celebration. It was nice to share some of that with our friends from PRT! Thanks, guys! ♡


Aloha got us some tasty champagne for a mini celebration.


Success, dangit! at Happy Panther Creek... which was also closed.

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!

With love,
Toots Magoots
(Robin Grapa)


14 thoughts on “Day 164: Trail closed!?

  1. Onward! I know you will finish strong in whatever way you can. Your journey has been an inspiration to me in so many ways – thank you Robin. I’m here in Canada and hoping you’re here soon too! God bless!

  2. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” and from what we’ve learned about you, that way WILL be found!!! :) Looking forward to the monument photos and CONGRATULATIONS on the PCT finish….all 2,670 (plus?) miles of them!!!!!! Just blows me away to think what you thru-hikers accomplish!!! You have inspired MANY MANY of us by your positive, determined outlook! God definitely has a bigger plan in this whole thing!! CHEERS to all of you!

  3. Absolutely unBELIEVEable! Words can’t express it. Here’s to walking up to that monument from the trail. My, oh my, you will have such stories to tell – for the rest of your life – about your crazy PCT thru hike!

  4. Is there a chance at a Southbound finish from the monument back to Rainy Pass or East Bank Trail Trailhead?, just to fill in those last few miles? Actually, I’m seeing the snow depths and the trail shutdown just like a fire closure, totally out of your control, so those miles don’t count. Congratulations on finishing the PCT!!! You guys ROCK!!!

  5. Hey Kid, we are all so proud of all three of you for “DOIN IT” and doin it with style!! who in the hell would ever of thought with all the heat of the desert and lack of oxygen in the mountains or snow ass deep that the house of represenitives would put a log in front of you that you can’t step over. Enjoy every moment of your finish. YOU DID IT!!!! —WITH LOVE YOUR PAPPY—

  6. God has a purpose in everything towards those who love Him. I am proud of you. I thank you for letting me be part of your journey. It has been wonder-full! …Canada :-) !!!

  7. Hey girl I’m so proud of you both! Your true grit will have you kissing the Canadian monument today! Have a great celebration!

  8. Robin, you and Tears make me want to be a better Woman. Never in my wildest Dreams did I think The Us Gov. would be the reason to stop your last 30 miles. I am in tears for you this morning, tears of happiness that you did all you could and tears of sadness that Uncle Sam once again sticks it to someone. Thank you For inspiring my own PCT hike in the future. I know it I see it I think it. And So It Is. Warrior Women GO!

  9. I’m so, so sorry that the craziness in congress right now has closed down the trail! Weather, politics… you guys really are battling all the obstacles. Honestly, I’ve been so in awe of everything you’ve had to overcome in WA. I think your plan B is a really good one. Those last 8 miles into Canada will be very sweet, I bet. That hard-earned monument is yours for the conquering. Sending more warm thoughts your way…

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