Day 1: 20 miles.
Day 2: 12 miles.
The pct is my home now, and I am settling in quite nicely. She has even given me a trail name this afternoon – T-Fox! I love it 🙂
Day one went wonderfully. We have made lots of friends – some that are hiking pretty fast, so who knows if we’ll see them again, but let’s hope so! Which brings me to something that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit as I walk. For some reason I have always termed myself as introverted and fairly non-social. Yet, whenever I find myself in social situations I really enjoy myself. People are great, and community is a wonderful thing. I’m so impressed with the sense of community around here, and I find myself wondering how so and so is doing and whether they have enough water or if their knees are still giving them grief. It may be early on (it’s only day two as I write this) but I care about them. We’re all in this together.
Dan and I are used to hiking by ourselves. We think of the wilderness as tranquil and peaceful and as an opportunity to think and reflect a lot. While that’s all true, I think the first part of the trail will be a bit different. With so many people starting their hike at or around the same time as us, there’s a lot of chit chat going on. But I love it. Hiker trash unite!
Which brings me to our beginning of the hike. We were dropped off April 18th at quarter to seven. Our lovely trail angel host Girl Scout drove us to the southern terminus, along with two other hikers named John and Brandon. John stayed with us at Girl Scout’s house the night before, and I can’t remember where he’s from, but he’s American -if you are reading John I’m sorry!! Brandon is from outside of Vancouver, and we picked him up at six that morning.
There was a buzz of excited energy in the car on the way. We picked Girl Scout’s brain one last time before we said goodbye, for any last minute advice, as he has hiked the pct in 2006. My last minute question was, “wait…is there going to be a lot of poodle bush?!” I’ve heard bad things about that pretty but itchy plant. He assured me that it would not be an issue for 400 miles. Phew! 400 miles buys me some time…
As we got our pictures at the monument, several other vehicles pulled up. As the doors opened, smiling, shiny, clean people piled out. Clean. Fresh. Energetic. Optimistic.
As we headed off – hiking alongside Brandon- I found myself to have an extra bounce in my step. I let out a couple hoots of joy, and scurried along. What a feeling!! Hiking away from the Mexican boarder without a care in the world. Just keep hiking…how hard can it be?
Well, it did get quite hard by the end of the day. Southern California is HOT. Who knew right? Hiking 20 miles on hot swollen feet got the best of me by the end. But it felt really good to pull up to camp with familiar smiling faces to congratulate me. She made it! Woo-hoo!! Atta girl. Oh, and did I mention that there was a trail angel at camp making spaghetti and handing out chips and beer? Well there was…and it was glorious. Almost as glorious as the hot shower I had. Yum.
I slept like a baby that night. I was out!! I had to go for a pee in the night, and found myself lingering outside a little longer than I had to, just to get re-aquatinted with the stars and the moon. We’ll hello beautiful night sky. Thanks for being you.
Our alarm went off at 5am so we could be hiking by 6am to beat the heat. I was up by 4, eager to get at ‘er. I’m so glad we got up early. Today was pretty hot again, but we had finished the hardest of our hike by 2pm. Actually…we set up camp at 2pm. We decided that since yesterday was a long day, we only did 12 miles today. I’m currently lounging in my tent, with the sound of birds, a gentle rustling of leaves, and a warming sun ray on my legs. It’s everything I imagined an afternoon off would bring – relaxation and rejuvenation.
A lot of our new friends are behind us right now, but who knows what more time will bring. John and Brandon actually just hiked ahead, and we hope to see them in Mount Laguna tomorrow for a beer. It’s 10 miles away, but we’re going to get up early with the intention of getting there by 10am. 10 before 10 is the goal! Then we’re going to take the afternoon off, as it’s so hot, to do some eating, drinking (don’t worry…only one), and shopping. Dan left his hat on the plane, so he’s hoping to buy one at the little gear store in town. He found one along the trail that he’s using for now, but I’m guessing he wants one that’s more techy than a Red Sox knock-off baseball cap. But I’m just guessing…