Have you ever thought you were ready for something and then started it, suddenly feeling like everything you thought you knew was wrong? Welcome to the PCT.
My airline craziness ended up just fine, and I spent the night with 30+ other hikers at Scout and Frodo’s. Scout gave a wonderful talk after dinner as we all sat in a circle on his astroturf lawn, nervous energy all around. We got our instructions fr the next morning and I was in my sleeping bag by 8:30pm.
The next morning was the product of a well-oiled machine and we were at the trailhead just after 7am. Pictures all around as is the custom.
I started trekking on my own and before hitting mile one, my nerves got the best of me and I had to dig a cathole behind a bush with 30 hikers nearby. Thanks, gut. I continued through Campo- our trail angels said people get lost within these first few miles and I can see why, as it crosses paths and follows a road with no blazes.
I managed to make it to some of the popular photo-ops in the first section, and was going strong until the midday desert heat really kicked in. There is little shade and the sun is brutal. People were huddled under rocks and bushes trying to escape the sun.
I received my very first trail magic in the form of a bottle of water from a woman whose husband also started the trail the same day. The heat was brutal. There was a huge group (50+ people) that was hiking southbound from Lake Morena campground- made us feel like we were going in the wrong direction! One of these day hikers gave me a Fig Newton. Score! Trail magic x2.
My head hurt since last night and now my feet hurt too. The views were incredible but I was ready to be done for the day. This trail is so hard on your body. I trudged into camp at Hauser Creek and pitched my tent next to a couple I’d been leapfrogging all day. I really should have looked first because it turns out that my spot was full of angry biting ants… They couldn’t get into my tent but it meant that I had to do all of my evening chores inside or get bitten repeatedly.
You get so dirty out here, I don’t even know where it comes from. Eventually I was able to get everything set up and clean myself up a bit. I haven’t been hungry and could barely force down half of my peanut curry dinner. I finally got into my sleeping bag and was asleep by 9pm.
Trail Magic: 2
Lessons learned: Bring sunscreen. Hike your own hike. There is more life in the desert than you could ever imagine. Just keep going.