Saturday, August 18, 2007

O Canada!

For those of you who have been following Jim and Jesse's incredible journey hiking from Mexico to Canada this summer, they have finally arrived! Here is their final update, including the total money raised for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Cammy Lee Leukemia Foundation.


Our final post! (To see pictures associated with this post, please visit our blog:

Hike Vitals
Miles hiked to date: 3000
Miles to go: 0
Days since hike started: 116
Location: Waterton Lakes, Alberta, Canada
Showers: 14

Fundraising Update
We raised nearly $35,000 from more than 200 people -- it was a moving display of support from our family, friends, and some whom we have never met. Thank you to all for the donations, care packages, and letters of suport we have received during our trek. We are very honored.
NOTE: For those that are supporting our charities through a per-mile pledge, we will be emailing you in the next few days with instructions on how to complete your donation.

Trek Update
We reached the 49th parallel marking the Canadian border on August 13th, 116 days and 3000 miles after leaving Mexico. We couldn't have scripted a better ending to our trip. Our week-long victory lap through Glacier National Park was some of the most majestic scenery either one of us had ever seen.

Our trek through Montana (and Idaho) did not begin with such promise. The first 500 miles of trail strictly (and often ridiculously) adhered to the divide, following jeep roads and ATV tracks as they meandered up and down (and up and down and up and down) the dry, rolling hills (labeled by another hiker as "PUDs", for "pointless ups and downs"). Thick haze from the summer's many fires often obscured views, and the lack of diversion and dimension caused the days to pass slowly.

Then we reached the Anaconda-Pintler wilderness, and we left behind the staid hills for more rugged terrain, rivers and lakes of alpine country. We continued to move quickly, weary of the rapidly growing fires in the north. Our fears proved well founded: By the time we reached our second to last resupply in Lincoln, fires had closed more than 100 miles of the remaining trail.

We settled on a route that preserved our long sought wilderness experience by tiptoeing around more minor fires on the western edges of the Bob Marshall Wildernes. During lunch one day, we sat on a high ridge and watched the dark, billowing smoke of trees bursting into flames a mile away.

Our detour extended into the southwestern corner of Glacier National Park where we left the fires behind (though not the smoke) and entered a glacially carved landscape of dramatic peaks, deep lakes, and beautiful tree-line passes. It was the type of scenery we had dreamed of on the CDT, but which had proven somewhat elusive. We swam in deep pools beneath towering waterfalls, ate trailside thimble berries, and took long lunchtime siestas. Mike Payne, our good friend from San Francisco, joined us for the last 50 miles, providing new perspectives and fodder for our daily trail banter. Jim's mom and her husband met us at trails end with food, comfortable beds and a welcomed ride home.

We are now spending our days working off our hard-won fitness as quickly as we can with a regimented diet of milkshakes, steaks, soft beds, and golf. Jesse will soon wake up to the imminent responsibilities of his September wedding, and Jim will face the challenges of finding a job and a place to live. But right now, it is time for another nap.

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