Campo to Warner Springs: Is This Actually Happening?
It is hard to believe that this time last week I was just starting the trail. It seems like I left Vernon forever ago because so much has happened in the past week. I am writing from the Warner Springs Community Resource Center, where I will be taking my first zero (day off).
Traveling from Vernon, British Columbia, to San Diego couldn’t have gone more smoothly. My awesome parents woke up at 3:30 a.m. to drive me to Kelowna International Airport and see me off.
Once I got to San Diego I was fortunate to stay with Scout and Frodo – legendary PCT trail angels who host a crazy number of hikers before they start their journey. It was the best possible way to get ready for the trail; I got a ride from the airport from Dot (one of their volunteers), my phone set up at AT&T, my grocery shopping done, and a ride to the Southern Terminus with Bud, another one of their volunteers. I also lucked out because my second night there was “Hawaiian night,” which only happens once a year. I got all of my chores done by Saturday afternoon so I could help with dinner and hang out with everyone.
I got up early Sunday morning and was ready to go. As we approached the monument at the Southern Terminus everything felt like a dream. Even touching the border wall and talking to the other hikers at the monument didn’t make it sink in.
Four of us started together and hiked the first nineish miles as a group. Lynx, Sabine, Olivia, and I had a great time and I still couldn’t believe I was actually on the PCT. My plan has always been to start slowly with around ten miles a day for the first couple of days and then keep it under or around 15 miles a day for a couple of weeks. I made the decision to stop at around mile 11 on day one, which was difficult because it was only 1 p.m. and it seemed like everyone else was pushing to mile 15 or 20 to camp.
I am so glad I decided to take it easy on day one because making that decision set the tone for my hike – I need to do what is best for me so that I can get the most out of my experience. Being confident in myself and my decisions has allowed me to get to mile 109.5 in good spirits and without injury.
I find myself feeling more confident as each day and each mile passes. After so much planning and lead up to starting the trail, it feels great to have accomplished this much so far.
After a cool, and sometimes stormy, first few days, the heat of the desert has hit. Yesterday I tried to rest during the hottest part of the day, which was the biggest challenge for me yet. I found it very difficult to sit still and relax for more than a couple of hours. All I wanted to do was get moving. In my normal off-trail life, I get to choose exactly what I want to do and when I want to do it most of the time, so I find it hard when I only have one option.
Instead of recapping every day in detail, I am going to summarize some of my favorite parts of trail life from the first 109.5 miles.
I have gotten to hike with people from all over the world. I have hiked by myself for a significant amount of time, but everyone ends up gathering at water sources, camping areas, and in towns. Here are some of my trail friends.
There have been several moments on trail where I have been completely overwhelmed by how amazing everything has been. I have been taking panoramas in the attempt to capture at least a fraction of the beauty out here.
Here’s a category for photos of times that weren’t all majestic views worthy of a coffee table book. We had a bit of stormy weather in the first few days, which made for a bit of type two fun – not so fun at the time but fun to reminisce about.
I’m looking forward to getting back on the trail, but I am also glad that I decided to take a day off. I didn’t realize that I was tired until I started to rest. Getting to meditate and do yoga on flat, green grass was the best way to recharge before continuing on.
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