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.
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.
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).