From the 11th hour nerves to Warner Springs, I can now say I’ve hiked over 100 miles on the PCT through some spectacular southern California scenery. Yes, it has been hot, dry, prickly, and a bit tiring, but also a ton of fun. As much as I love the scenery unrolling in front of me and under my feet, it is the atmosphere and camaraderie of the trail that looks to make this journey special. I can’t recount all the folks I’ve met thus far: thru hikers, trail angels, past hikers, and locals. All great people, and I’m looking forward to sharing the trail with many more.
The 110 miles to Warner Springs has also brought many trail “firsts.” Here are just a few:
First time at ADZPCTKO. Simply an amazing kickoff event. Had the reunion and excitement feel of a Headwaters relay, except with the advice, noise, and anticipation of a months-long adventure. I already can’t wait to attend next year.
First night sleeping on a picnic table. (the wind later forced me into the bushes)
First rattlesnake encounter. (of several, but at least they warn you!)
First mini mart microwave burrito. Excellent.
First 100 degree day. (Many afternoons spent under the bushes in true dirt bag form)
First water cache-above the desert floor at a place called Third Gate. Literally 25+ hikers hanging out around this precious water source. Thank goodness for the kind souls who lug it all up here, an otherwise inhospitable place.
First trail magic – cold can of Arizona ice tea from a 2000 hiker at a road crossing.
First person to complete section A without any blisters!?! Thank you shoes, socks, and most of all feet!
Warner Springs isn’t much of a town, but the showers, laundry, hot springs, and restaurant food are a welcome respite from the desert miles. Most of these luxuries revolve around water and food, and I can already sense the feast and famine mentality of the trail as it continues North. Only 2500 miles to go!