I noticed in the Hope visitors guide that there seemed to be a trail leading south from the town avoiding the clogged traffic on Highway Number 1 West.
“It is a dirt road through the Skagit Valley Provincial Park”, the town guide told me. “Just three km’s west, then 37 km’s to the park entrance. In a short 23 km’s more you are at the U.S. border”
Off I went walking on the lonely dirt road. It was fun but I was also concerned about the wild life. I kept my bear spray close and once again loaded the bear blaster. For a day and a half it was up and down hills along the loose gravel road. Rainbow trout anglers sped by in high powered pickup trucks kicking up big clouds of dust stifling my breathing. I stop often to remove stones from my shoes being careful not to bend too quickly straining my weary muscles.
Then at 7:30 PM, Ross Lake sparkling in the distance. A short walk later a small sign welcomes travelers with the simple words “International Border”. I walk into the woods and the State of Washington. I take pleasure in remembering that I have now walked more than 2500 miles since this quest began a few summers ago. I smile briefly until the mosquitoes swarm, bite and nibble voraciously enough to send me home to Scarsdale.