Day 1: Campo to Lake Morena (mi 0-20)
Wow. I am currently writing this blog in my cozy tent at the Lake Morena campground, with a full belly of a concerning amount of hotdogs, quesadillas, and the best magic around. But let's back up.
This morning my wonderful dad dropped me off at Southern Terminus of the PCT at about 6:35am. Yesterday was filled dancing around San Diego, from surfing to a late night Chance the Rapper concert. In hindsight, probably not the best way to rest up for the PCT... but absolutely zero regrets.
As we approached the monument, we were introduced to a handful of hikers, mostly thru-hikers. After snapping some pics, facetiming Mama Glenn, and giving my dad a bear hug, it was time the hit the trail.
The first mile was all adrenaline. Beginning a trek I've been planning for years, matched with an empty stomach and lack of sleep, created a perfect storm of jitters. I think I laughed and eeeeeek'ed for a solid 3 miles.
The terrain was incredible. The West has received record precipitation, so the desert is SO green and there is a superbloom! Basically, the wildflowers are going nuts.
The trail swerved its way through the desert, giving me a treat around every switchback. At one point (around mile 8) I caught myself skipping around turns, eager to see what the next view would look like.
Wildlife: no snakes today! Saw about 7 bunnies, a couple horned frogs (lol go tcu), several squirrel and LOTTA ants. Oh, and one little honeybee.
I stopped for a quick 10am lunch at mile 10, and said hello to some new friends I had been playing leapfrog with. A mother and her son, Jordan, who seems to be about my age. They were HAULING it. I would love to stick around them for a good bit, if the trail allows.
The last 10 miles of the day were more tough. My usual hiking pains began: pack rubbing left hip and inside left foot pains. I need to take more weight on my right, so I'll keep ya updated on that. Rolling into Lake Morena Campground at 2:45pm was a DREAM. My feet shouted for a place to sit, and my stomach craved fruit and a coke, but my mind knew I had water and dehydrated food waiting for me in my pack.
"Hey! Come over here and get some magic!"
Enter Ron. Ron is the freaking man. His name miiight be Rod, but that's a small detail. Ron/d called us (Jordan, his mom, and me) over to his site, and we were welcomed with a buffet of top-craved food.
Everything from Cuties and bananas to chips and pretzels to hot dogs and enchiladas. This was all from the core of Ron/d's heart. These folks are considered "Trail Angels," and their gifts are considered trail magic.
We sipped our soft drinks, used measuring cups as wine glasses, and rested our tired feet. As other hikers rolled in, we shared opinions of the day's hike and told stories of life back home. These guys came from all over... from what I remember, we had 2 Australians, 1 Frenchie, 1 Brit, 3 Israeli, and a man from Denmark, and a handful of Americans all at our little table. What a treat.
We laughed a ton. We poked fun and were relieved to discover not everyone had Ultralight Gear. It's sobering to think the completion rate of the PCT is estimated 1 of every 10 people. I have full confidence everyone at that table can make it to Canada... so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out. Maybe the 2017 crew will continue setting records 😉.
Tomorrow we begin a pretty steep incline up Mount Laguna. No idea how the feet will feel in the AM, but I'm anticipating popping more than a few Advil. Ready did my trail legs!