Mile 0.0 Campo to 109.5 Warner Springs
The Adventure Begins!
Day One: 3 May 2015
Start: HM 0 mi
End: HM 20 mi Lake Mirena Campground
GPS Point: 32.68596 -116.51724
Day Total: 20 miles
Water at start, water at Lake Mirena
What a start! Girlscout, my gracious host, picked me up at the airport yesterday evening where I discovered I was one of three PCT’ers. A mostly calm night, I finally organized my pack. We arrived to the Mexican border around 7AM this morning. My start buddies: Brandon and Lyle, and I took a team photo at the start portal and then hit the trail. I knew we were going to the border, however I didn’t foresee the literal giant metal fence marking the invisible line with a tangible border. While taking photos, several more vehicles dropped off other hikers. Unlike my quiet CT start two summers ago, once moving along, I encountered many hikers. It turns out my hostee companion, Brandon, makes a pretty good hiking partner. We spent most of the day together. We made it all the way to Lake Mirena around 4:45PM. The camper area at Lake Mirena is quite bustling. There must be at least 15 of us around. And that was only my count before a long hot shower. Already there are so many hikers, easily accessible accommodations, and general good feelings. In every way drastically different from my CT hike. Brandon and I ate a giant cheese pizza and Modelo tall boys in paper bags for a first day celebratory supper. The whole twenty miles were a no water stretch. My feet and back are definitely aware of the water weight strain. Already tomorrow I want to send home the equivalent of 3 lbs of stuff to lighten my pack load. How quickly a stuff sack seems heavy…
Anyways, things are still a little loose on my end. I reveled in food and cleanliness instead of map review, so my system will likely take a few days to become a well oiled machine of hiking madness. Today the terrain and elevation profile were very forgiving. Tomorrow is a whole new game of all incline. I am too tired to write more. My mind finally letting go after the chaos of the last week’s prep.
Day Two: 4 May 2015
Start: HM 20 mi
End: HM 41.47 mi Burnt Rancheria Campground in Mt Laguna
GPS Point: 32.89897 -114.45324
Day Total: 21.47 miles
Water at Boulder Oaks Campground, water at Burnt Rancheria campground
First rattle snake encounter! I was leading with Brandon and Shiva behind. I quickly jumped by before the snake was fully aware of my presence, while the guys had to go through bristled bushes since the snake was very agitated and rattling at every close encounter. Also a ton of lizards and my first blooming eucalyptus plant.
My hike is having a slow start. I am still organizing my pack. I have things to send home already, but I might have to wait until Big Bear Lake for a post office.
Still hiking along with Brandon. We keep pace fairly well. Also met a nice group of two older brothers from Milwaukee and Ft Worth who are accompanying to Warner Springs the one’s daughter, Corey, from Portland, who is hiking the full PCT. As well as a guy named Pete from FL, Glen from FL, Lucas “Shiva” from Canada, OMW (Old Man Walking) a 70 year old man who is hiking as a retirement gift. So many people! We are camped at Mt Laguna and there are at least 30 PCT’ers.
I have blisters already, but my legs are starting to pick up finally. Hips are sore. Also my First resupply! Barely made it to the PO in time. As of right now, I am ahead of schedule on mileage. Gave food away in anticipation of only three days to Warner Springs. Spent the evening with the group of campers around a fire. Evenings are cold. A local brought his dog and built the fire and provided s’more fixings. Such hospitality!
9pm already feels like a late night. Sleep for me.
Tolls of Day Three.
Day Three: 5 May 2015
Start: HM 41.4 mi
End: HM 63.8 Campsite near Chariot Canyon Rd
GPS Point: 33.012883, -116.527305
Day Total: 22.3 miles
Water at Mt Laguna campground, water at GART faucet trailhead 6 mi, water cache at Mason Valley Truck Trail
Fleeting sighting of a fox today! Ran right in front of me on the trail. Also, there are these cool looking horned lizards. And they hop, or jump rather. Three snakes but no rattlers again.
Met a nice Italian man, a guy who was near us at end of day who claimed he was having a terrible time and asked us if we were enjoying ourselves. From his start date, it sounded like this guy was doing 35+ mile days.
Today my feet and body were genuinely exhausted. Brandon and I decided to call camp with plans to start doing early mornings. Starting in 5 miles we have a 30 mile dry stretch. My achilles is tired and sore. I really look forward to sleep at night. There are several of us at the same camp site tonight. A couple in a tent who never came out, Boyardee and Mary, Taxi, and an older Japanese man.
My feet are finally begging for rest.
Day Four: 6 May 2015
Start: HM 63.8
End: HM 91.8 mi / 3rd gate water cache
GPS Point: 33.168451, -116.540106
Day Total: 28 miles
Water at Rodriguez tank
My feet are exhausted. Brandon and I pounded out 28 grueling miles so tomorrow we can reach Warner Springs and relax. We hiked with Taxi and had a long lunch with him. Met Dr. Dre, who rapped for us (his name is Andre), and Beowulf at the water source in the AM. Not many people today.
Taxi, Brandon and I met a trail angel at Scissors Crossing. She gave us fresh treats (date bars, corn bread, jolly ranchers, and brought us cold Pepsi and watermelon!). We had a long lunch then started the mad climb up what we had just descended to reach Scissors Crossing. Got to love the basin and range formations.
I slept terribly last night from the ceaseless wind. Tonight is also exposed and windy, but I staked my tarp low and lined the drop sheet with rocks. I have decided the vestibule/door part of my tarp is inferior. Both sides have extra material to open wider but are not long enough to stake low without leaving it loose and flapping. Since we are on a dirt site, I want little air flow to allow dirt to be swept up to cover me.
I saw a bunch of planes today! Helicopters, the big army looking ones, and double sideways propellor ones. So close to us!
Also saw the continuous entourage of lizards and rodents.
Day Five: 7 May 2015
Start: HM 91.8
End: HM 109.5 Warner Springs Resource Center
GPS Point: 33.273455, -116.644986
Day Total: 17.7 miles
Today was eye opening on what calories can do for the body. I haven’t felt hungry but today understood hunger. I almost ran out of food, literally walked into Warner Springs with no edibles in my pack. And it wasn’t that I was hungry, it was that my body felt empty, fuel on zero. Last night I had to eat every three miles just to keep going. Today I needed that but didn’t have the food. I am glad I cross towns frequently the next couple hundred miles. I need to reevaluate my calorie intake town stop to town stop.
Met group of five: Laura, Lyra, Sara, Trevor and another guy with a right calf tattoo. Sunflower (vibrant red haired mom out solo). NZ guy. Older couple we first met at water trough trailhead where poison oak started. Pete from Mt. Laguna day came in. And Taxi came in. Lots of others. Some took zeros at Warner. Molly red head chef. Renee, guy Taxi met. It is sort of unbelievable to imagine just how many people there are out on the PCT. I am not even starting among the main herd. And not just the amount of people, but also the number who stop at every town possible. No judgement, if you need rest then you need rest, but wow! This is day five, I can’t imagine wanting a break yet.
I did enjoy a warm shower with a towel! Brandon and I put our laundry in a long queue. There seems to be a major back up so we won’t get to leave until at least midday tomorrow. Rain clouds are coming in. Brandon and I went to PO for my resupply. I mailed home some odds and ends. Then Taxi, Brandon, and I went to store for resupplies and supplements. Found out the deli in the store makes burgers! So happy!! The Center closed at 4pm, so everyone sort of shuffles out and finds their tents. They had clothes to wear while stuff is in the laundry. I am sporting red sweat pants and a red and white striped top. The only sad part is that I don’t have my spare clothes for my pillow while I sleep. Socialized but went to bed early.