Week One

Writing this in a small hotel in Julian, California. Didn’t really mean to end up here but circumstances …. … here is a brief summary of the first five days.

Day 1 (PCT 15.4): Scout and Frodo (they deserve a post all to themselves) got me (and 22 other hikers) to the souther terminus of the PCT where, after a bout of picture taking we headed out.

Whole crew from Scout and Frodo’s

It was very hot  – did not make my planned 20 miles – stopped at mile 15.4 and rehydrated.

Day 2 (PCT 33.0) : Did the climb into Lake Moreno in the cool early morning (stopping at the general store for a lovely breakfast burrito) then back on the trail. Tough day (all the days are tough starting out!) ending at a campground about a mile from the trail (with water and toilets!). Windy but it stopped when the sun went down.  

Day 3 (PCT 42.0): Very easy day – about 10 miles. Want to give my legs and feet a break (yes, the blisters are back!). Stopped in Mount Laguna, had lunch at a hiker friendly restaurant with a bunch of other hikes. I see, on average, 10 hikers are so over the course of the day.

Day 4(PCT 56.0): Another pretty easy day – though extremely windy – 20-30 mph and colder. Not bad hiking most of the way and some great views:

Got to camp and the wind is really blowing. Tried to find a place out of the wind but not a lot of choices. A Korean film crew doing a PCT documentary stopped and asked to interview me. Very surreal.  With a lapel mike and everything. They also asked to film my feet. So my feet may end up in a Korean documentary one day! Two other single hikers camped near me but the wind was still building. 

Day 5 (PCT 59.5): Terrible night! Wind gusts to 60 mph. One of the tents near me blew  out and  a hiker had to ask to join another hiker in a single person tent. No sleep, wind and tent flapping sounds like a jet. And COLD! My tent never blew out but almost everyone I talked to today had collapsed tents. One couple (from Canada) said they spent the whole night holding their poles up. T-Bird (Ohio) said he finally gave up and just rolled himself up in his collapsed tent. 

Charlie and Lauren Hiding in the toilet with me

Up early and on the trail – wearing everything I have but still very cold. 37 degrees and wind is still blowing 40-50 mph. I hike 3.5 miles to Sunrise Trailhead (PCT 59.5) and stumble into the toilet – already occupied by another hiker (T-Bird) drying out his clothes and getting ready to prepare breakfast. He says the weather is for a strong wind advisor all day with intermittent showers. Okay – enough flirting with hypothermia. Call a shuttle service in Julian. He asks how many – T-Bird says wait a minute and runs to some other hikers camped nearby. We finally end up with 6 headed into Julian and some warmth and a hot breakfast and to regroup.

Most people are stayting one night but I need a day to clean and dry all my stuff (a tent acts like a filter in strong winds – you end up with about an inch of blown dirt in your tent/sleeping bag/pack). 

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