PCT Week One – Mile 52.6

Well, I survived the first week on the Pacific Crest Trail.

The theme of this update brought to you by REM, in honor of my backpack:  https://youtu.be/_mSmOcmk7uQ

Getting to the trailhead of the Pacific Crest Trail, in the desert outside of Campo, California can be difficult. Fortunately, there are Trail Angels named Scout and Frodo who open their home during season to host aspiring PCT hikers. I took the train from Oxnard to San Diego where a volunteer picked me up and took me to Scout and Frodo’s home. They have been doing this for some time, and have the logistics down.

After a night camping in their backyard and an early breakfast, we caravaned out to the trailhead, took a quick group photo, and then it was time to start walking North.

I made the classic rookie mistake of trying to cover too much distance too fast in the early days. I paid for it, with sore feet and sore legs, and had to slow down day 3 and 4. Still, I managed to cover 52 miles in the first 5 days through the desert, up and down mountains and in very hot conditions.  There was no water until mile 20, so with 6 liters of water,  gear, and 5 days food, I was carrying about 42 pounds.

First PCT blaze.

Mile one.  2649 to go.

Even though I was traveling through the desert, it was quite beautiful. I miss California’s browns and umbers and grays, and the chaparral on the mountains.  Even though the picture below is of the 1,200′ climb on the morning of day two.

Most backpackers are somewhere on the continuum between liking camping or liking hiking. I’m pretty much firmly in the hiking camp, and don’t enjoy the camping so much. I made the mistake of camping early on day three and found it was quite boring waiting the 18 hours (without any cell signal–the horror!) until I could start hiking again.

Morning breakfast break.

Using an umbrella to create my own shade.

I decided to take a zero day, or rest day, on day 6 at Laguna Mountain. This was both to rest my legs and to avoid the worst of the storm that was sweeping through, with freezing rain and nighttime lows in the twenties.

Laundry.  I don’t know if it was a good idea to wear a white shirt for 5 months…

I head out again tomorrow for a 5 day, 60 mile stretch to Warner Springs.


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