And So It Begins
If you thought last post’s obstacle course for me to get in the plane out of Brazil and the two weeks in MX was all the trouble I had to go through before getting to the Southern Terminus, you thought wrong.
I arrived in San Francisco to spend a week with a friend. I had all my gear sent there and had to sort out the last details, as well as hang out with her – she had a whole schedule planed out (it involved plenty of alcohol and no exercising). But for some reason the lady at immigration at the airport didn’t buy my whole “hiking for five months” story. She had other plans.
I was sent to a separate room so they could have a better look at me. But not before leaving me seated in a waiting area for an hour, you know, just to build some tension. The officer called my name asked me to sit and began his “good cop” speech. He was there to get my story straightened, he would represent my interest before his supervisor so it was very, very important for me to tell all the truth, if I was going to get a job I should be honest. Otherwise I was looking at deportation and criminal prosecution, apart from never being able to step in the US again. Oh shit.
I swear to you officer, I’m just here to hike. He went and got my luggage, and lucky me, I had a tent, trekking poles, stuff sacks, water bladder. He believed me, but still cost me two hours and a few white hairs. Finally I was in American territory!
I was so excited going through all my new gear at my friend’s, packing everything into my bag, going shopping at Trader Joe’s and last minute stop at REI. I had a blast in San Francisco, but yep, no exercise since I left São Paulo (I had the feeling I was about to regret all the fun I had in the last month).
My starting day was approaching fast and I was in touch with another Trek blogger starting the same day as me to figure out what to do once we got to San Diego. I wanted to camp at the C.L.E.E.F. where Legend and Mark are running a reception for hikers, with dinner the night before and breakfast in the morning. At the last minute we got a ride from the airport to Campo from a trail angel named Tom (thank you Tom!).
Arriving in Campo and meeting other hikers, experiencing that community feeling Legend inspires was surreal. It was a cold full moon night, I couldn’t bring myself to sleep, but I felt so happy and… calm. I got through every obstacle put in my way with a tranquil confidence that I had to do this and everything was gonna work out if I just had some patience. And it did. And I was so grateful.
The next morning, after taking way too long to pack my stuff, me and nine other hikers sat for breakfast and then walked to the terminus. THE Monument, right there, in front of me. Finally.
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