As you are well aware, I usually write my posts in story format but I feel like some things get lost that way. For each section, I plan to do a summary with numbers, stats, favorites, etc. This took a bit of time, so enjoy my summary of my ENTIRE trip so far, even though it is just the first of five sections!!Trail miles: 702.2
Total miles: 722.2
Longest day: 24.1 miles
Shortest day: 1.6 miles
Total days: 57
Zero days: 4
Average trail miles per hiking day: 13.25 milesNights spent camping/outdoors: 47
Days with rain/snow: 12
Days hiked alone: 17
Nights camped alone: 6Total # of hitchhikes: 7
# of hitchhikes alone: 2
# of trail magics: 17
# of items lost: 2 (both bandannas!)
Total elevation gain/loss: +131,637/-128,559 feet
# of showers: 9
# of resupply boxes sent: 2 (Warner Springs and Agua Dulce)
# of pairs of shoes destroyed: 1.5 (still wearing the second pair)Favorite town: Wrightwood
Least favorite town: Hikertown
Favorite section: Tehachapi to Kennedy Meadows
Least favorite section: Idyllwild to Big Bear, but this was more because of circumstances than terrain. Except the wind farm near Cabazon- that was terrible.Top 3 days: Coming into Big Bear (Day 19), Coming into Agua Dulce (Day 34), Hurrying toward Kennedy Meadows (Day 56)
Worst 3 days: Days 16, 17, and 18. Between knee pain, being alone, navigating Mission Creek, heavy rain, lack of motivation and walking into the wind for miles on end, this was a really tough stretch for me.Best campsite: The saddle at mile 656.9 (Day 54)- such incredible views! Runners up: The beautiful solitude at mile 95 (Day 6) and the sunset view at mile 317.4 (Day 24)
Worst campsite: Mile 129.2 on top of the ridge just past Mike’s Place (Day 9). This probably would have been a beautiful spot if it wasn’t hailing on me that night, and if I would have taken the time to find a large enough site. Runner up: Acton KOA at mile 444.2 (Day 33)- loud kids, loud train, bright lights. Yuck.
Favorite trail magic: Staying with Jeff in Kernville (Day 53)
Favorite trail angel establishment: Hiker Heaven (the Saufley’s in Agua Dulce) (Days 34 and 35)Favorite gear/item: I really love my tent (Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo) and my sleeping pad (Thermarest NeoAir), but I want to highlight an unconventional item: I LOVE my pStyle. It is basically a little funnel/trough that lets a woman pee standing up like a man. Not having to take my pack off, find a suitably private/hidden location and make my poor knees squat every time I had to pee made hiking so much easier. The guys got a kick out of it too.
Least favorite gear/item: The cheap running shorts I started hiking in. I replaced them with Oiselle Long Roga running shorts which are SO much better. I also was not a huge fan of my headlamp, mostly because it would turn on in my pack and kill the batteries, which I had to carry extras of.
Food craved: Root Beer, apples
Food I ate a ton of: Pop Tarts, Ramen, couscous
Food I would rather bury than eat: Halwa (sesame fudge)Favorite animal encounter: Holding a legless lizard or finding a tarantula on the trail while night hiking
Scariest moment: Slipping and falling on Mt Baden-Powell
# of blisters: 3
Ailments/Injuries: Right knee pain (ongoing), right ankle pain/swelling/stiffness (ongoing), pinched nerve causing shooting pain under left shoulder blade and down arm (ongoing), left quad pain and weakness near knee (recovered), left hip pain (intermittent), folding and inflammation of fascia in soles of both feet (ongoing), scrapes from falling after Paradise Valley (recovered), right shoulder pain after falling on Mt Baden-Powell (ongoing)Craziest thing I did: Summited Mt Baden-Powell in the dark to see the sun rise, shaved part of my head (undercut) at Hiker Heaven
Favorite thing about this section: Finding my trail family. Runner up: the unexpected. There were surprises everywhere, especially the lush biodiversity in the desert. Even the weather was unexpected- first cold and miserable, then temperate and comfortable.
Least favorite thing about this section: The long water carries. Runner up: the oppressive heat with no shadeSomething I wish I knew before: There are a LOT of rocks here that want to destroy your feet. The amount of pain you think you will feel is absolutely nothing compared to the amount of pain you ACTUALLY will feel. Also, it is ok to get left behind, you WILL find your people. Don’t try to keep up if you can’t, and don’t slow down if it is going to drive you nuts.
Now to take on the “scariest” section: The Sierras! Between high elevations, heavy snow pack, high river crossings, long food carries and possibly bears, the Sierras are known to be the most challenging section of the PCT but also the most beautiful and generally hikers’ favorite. I am excited to see what it brings!