Miles Hiked: 20.2
Total Milage 20.2
This morning I woke up at 5am in a massive tent at Scout and Frodo’s house. They are two legendary trail angels who live in San Diego and host hikers at their home before dropping them off at the Mexico Border to start their hikes. Scout wrote a book called “Journeys North” about hiking the Pacific Crest trail. My dad and I listened to it together. I highly recommend reading it. He is a great story teller. It was so nice to be taken care of by those two. They hosted us for a night, fed us breakfast and dinner, and drove us to the trail. About 15 other hikers were there. Scout gives a famous after dinner talk in which he gives us information and advice about the trail and told us a magnificent story about the first people to travel the entire Pacific Crest Trail on horseback in the 1950s.
By 8am I was standing at the border with a large group of hikers and getting my picture taken. I climbed the stone monument I have waited so long to see. It felt totally surreal. It feels as if I have been dreaming about this trail ever since I knew I wanted to be a thru hiker. As I set off down the trail with Luke, we stopped at the actual border to get a picture of the steel wall and put my hands through to Mexico on the other side.
The California desert looked so different than I had imagined it and drastically different than the New Mexico and Arizona deserts I know quite well. It was lush and green with lots of shady trees and large granite rocks. We passed a sign that said “Mile 1” but it felt like we were only hiking for 10 minutes. I wondered, “How is this already going by so fast? ” . At Mile four was our first water source, a flowing stream where I grabbed 1 liter to make my pack have 4L total.
Today was objectively the most pleasant day of hiking I’ve ever had. I don’t think either of the other two trails I have hiked started out this smooth. My pack weight felt amazing. The warm up hike I did in Georgia with my dad totally paid off in terms of getting my body used to carrying a pack again. There was way more shade than I imagined and there were interesting views all day long. When I saw a California Poppy for the first time ever I was absolutely mesmerized. The bright yellow color and perfect shape of the petals blew me away. I already want to add them to my wildflower tattoo and I can’t wait to see more. Luke and I took breaks about every four miles. We looked for nice shady spots to relax. I was on edge all day about seeing snakes. I only saw one slither across the trail in front of me and tons of tiny lizards running faster than the blink of an eye. The temperature was totally reasonable today. At the hottest point of the afternoon we took over an hour break in Hauser Creek Canyon. I laid on my thin black ground pad under a large shady tree and enjoyed the company of three other hikers. Oddly enough I think I have met less than ten people from America so far. Maybe less than five. It’s certainly interesting to meet a very different crowd than I’m used to.
At 4pm we headed up the first climb of the PCT to Lake Morena. It was surprisingly not bad at all despite the heat. Most of the trail ended up being shady and cool as it meandered through groves of Manzanita trees. After 20 miles both Luke and I still felt great. We walked to oak shores malt shop and grocery store to get malt shakes and dinner. What a perfect and easy first day. The lake Morena Campground had a PCT area where we set up camp. We ran into a lot of other hikers who made it here on day one as well. I saw Library and Overdue who I met in the Bob Marshall wilderness on the PCT. It’s crazy to run into people I know on day one!
After I had my tent set up at camp, I immediately started to write my blog before I fell asleep. I was out before I could finish it.