Day 7 – Crawl to the Finish

Log Jam Creek to Gordon River (5km)

Nothing was on our minds waking up this morning except finishing the hike and finishing it with everyone in one piece. We got up early, packed up camp faster than we’d ever done before and were on our way. We spoke the night before about sticking together and seeing this thing through. So it was that Rob would take the lead and set the pace.

Not too much happened on this day except that we finished. At some point in the trail you realize that everyone you pass is fresh, clean and just off the boat. Also, you can hear the ferry buzzing people to the trailhead and you begin to get excited (read impatient). At one such place in the trail we were all standing behind Rob as he calculated how to scale a fallen tree. A section of the tree had been cut out to make a step and it was about 3 feet (~1m) off the ground. He had resisted help and kept his wrists securely wrangled to his poles for 7 (or 8) days, but at this point, with a palpable urgency of 5 guys behind him, it looked as if all that would change. He began to remove his wrists from the poles’ loops and 5 men simultaneously had a common realization and a new sense of hope (like watching a Barack Obama speech). Our spirits were crushed as Rob, instead of taking Matt’s steady shoulder to aid his assent, took his poles, threw them past the opening in the tree and began to climb through on his own.

I have to admit, however, that seeing Rob finish this thing was something I thought about a lot and one of the best parts of the trip. We allowed him to lead all the way to the last kilometer, there we all took a picture with the small yellow sign that said 75km. Then, the magnetism to the finish too great to resist, we all fled for the ferry crossing, leaving Rob in our dust. He showed up a few minutes later with his poles drawn like two six-shooters. He was owed manhugs from us all and he knew they were coming.

Next began a whole other journey in itself. It was so hard to figure out who was going to Victoria General to be with Duke and who was going to head back to Seattle that I can not even remember what we did. I think Rob and Rick went to the hospital and then the four young guys also made a stop to say hi and pick up Rick. Duke was in good spirits and still telling his crushed aspirin story to anyone who would listen. We left him there with Rob while we waited, fasting and sponge-bathed, ready for surgery. He’d wait there prepped for over 24 hours more, and in the same time Rob ran around between the US Canada border like a chicken with his head cut off trying to get his other car up to Victoria (still, no one understands why). We arrived in Seattle and dropped off Rick, sometime around midnight (Thursday night/Friday morning), but determined to get some beer before passing out. Duke would finally make it back to Seattle on Saturday and we went over to visit on Sunday. He was bumped in the queue for surgery 5 times and finally gave up, came back to Seattle and had an appointment with his doctor for Tuesday. He had talked to George who had somehow made his way back to New Mexico since we last saw him.

Skip to the present. This weekend Matt is again out in Seattle with Duke, Rob, Graham and Josh for Graham and Liz’s wedding. Best wishes to all of you guys and I hope to get back out there soon. It was the trip of a lifetime… until the next trip.

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