PCT Days 1-11

Day 1: April 12th

I got a ride to the southern terminus from my friend at about 8am. I called a few people procrastinating for about 15 minutes before going. I was pretty anxious, I didn’t even know what way to start walking. North.

Around mile 5 I saw a rattlesnake perched on a rock about head height. Two ft away. I heard it’s rattle before I saw it. It’s tan skin blended in with the rock. I just about shit my pants and walked past it as fast as I could.

I hiked 15 miles to hauser creek where I found a site to set up camp. It was packed by late afternoon. I was very surprised to have seen so many hikers on day one.

I realized my water filter ring was missing. It still works without it but a massive pain because the water comes out the sides. I asked some other hikers if they had extras and shoutout to Michael who gave me one!!! 

The trail is beautiful right now. Everything is green and there are many flowers,

Day 2

I woke up at 6am and left hauser creek by 6:30. I ate a cliff bar on the go for breakfast and booked it to lake merena where I bought sunscreen and hand sanitizer. I made a few phone calls and kept moving on. It rained the first night so my tent was very wet.

My shoes and socks were soggy most of the day because I had to cross two creeks that were knee deep. I met even more people. Hiked some miles with Katie from Utah.

At kitchen creek I accidentally went past the opening to go down for water. I ended up at the road crossing and read on Far Out that I could hike down the road to get water. Got .5 mi down and was mad I even went there and hiked back up. I met a cool couple who encouraged me to just keep going on to Fred canyon tent site where I’d hit mile 17 for the day.

I camped next to even more people than hauser. I ate my dinner, filtered water, aired out my tent, and repaired hot spots/blisters on my feet with moleskin and tape. My feet are already looking pretty wacky.

Day 3

I woke up at 5:20 after a rough night of sleep. It was so cold and I had every layer I brought with me. I was on the trail by 6. I cranked out 10 miles before 10:30 which put me at laguna. I spent some time at pine house cafe and met up with some hikers I’d seen the day prior. We ended up playing a French version of bocceball in the dirt parking lot of the cafe. It’s actually called Pétanque. I honestly didn’t know who’s team I was on the whole time I was just happy to be there and threw the ball when they told me too. I love meeting all the international hikers. I’ve met people from Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, canada, France, England. It’s crazy a trail can bring this many different people together.


I charged my phone and battery at the cafe, but my battery takes forever to charge so after three hours it still wasn’t full.

I packed plenty of food to make it to Julian so I  bought some more snacks at the general store down the road. A kid in front of me was doing a full supply and spent $100, yikes.

I hiked 5 more miles to laguna campground where a couple groups ended up. We split a site, set up camp, ate dinner, and went to sleep.

Day 4

I hiked out of laguna campground early. When I went to use my battery the night prior it would not charge my phone even though I charged it at pine house cafe! I’m hoping to get a new one in Julian.

I hit 50 miles on day 4! I got to a lookout point on the side of the road and met Katie’s sister who offered me water and an apple. Katie’s sister is biking while she hikes and meeting her along the way.

There was a 50k trail race going on for the last third of my hike. The trail was pretty narrow so I had to stop nearly every single time to let them go by. It was okay, I figured they’re in a bigger hurry than I am.

I ended up hearing loud music, I saw some cars, tents, and white spray paint on the dirt that said trail magic. I walked over and was greeted by lots of cheering. They were for the trail race but catered towards hikers as well. I immediately met One Love who gave me a big hug. He told me to take anything I needed, food, soda which I gladly took. He let me charge my phone in his car and I took a seat with the rest of the crew. I chatted, ate snacks, and had a nice cold beer. They cheered me on and gave me another bear hug before I left. I was so grateful.

I hiked the last mile to camp. I sunbathed, soaked my feet, ate dinner with the crew and then had to do more surgery on my feet. I developed three more blisters. The one on my heel got even larger somehow. I’m really hoping they don’t get infected.

So far the things I get annoyed with are the dirt in my tent that I can’t get out, the dirt on my hands when I need to take my contacts out or put them in. My feet are so so sore and my blisters feel like massive bruises. Mostly dirt though.

I took some photos of the stars!

I think about how amazing it is to be out here. I wake up when the sun rises and go to sleep when the sunsets. The nearby streams lull me to sleep. I do the most basic things everyday. Walk, eat, sleep. I have real conversations with people, we’re not on our phones doing pointless things, scrolling for hours. We need our phone battery to last so we can see where we can get water next. At home, water comes right out of the faucet.

Everything we do out here is making us to be more mindful.

Days 4-11. To mile 151.8 PVC

I hadn’t been able to use my phone much to write once I got to camp. My phone had been struggling to keep any battery percentage and my power bank was useless. I went a couple days with my phone being under 20%. 

I hitched into Julian with a couple other hikers. I did a small resupply and ate with the crew.

Hitchhiking. Avi, Michael, Smoothie, and Juice

I ended up buying a back up power bank at the gear shop. Michaels mom was meeting him in Julian the next day so he asked her to get a power bank for me. Thank you again Michael.

I fell backwards and got a cactus stuck in my finger

I was going to zero in Julian but decided I didn’t want to go all the way back to town from stagecoach. I camped at stagecoach, kinda took a shower (without soap) and hit the trail the next morning. Unfortunately the cord to my backup battery was stolen over night in the laundry room there. I guess I won’t be leaving anything overnight again.

The trek from Julian to Paradise Valley Cafe was emotionally difficult for me. I hit my first 20 mile day, hit 100 miles, saw eagle rock, and beautiful fields of wildflowers.

The next day I only did 10 miles… my left achilles was aching. Sometimes it’s tough to find motivation to keep hiking. I have to remind myself that motivation does not need to be stressful. This is something I’ve been telling myself anytime I get overworked. Motivation does not need to be stressful on the mind body or soul. It’s found through passion, love, and commitment. It’s more of a flow.

I got to pvc and ate a huge burger. My body was hurting so much. I got my package with my snow gear, microspikes and ice axe.

Hiker boxes

I camped across the street at Richards place. He opens his door to pct hikers. I showered, did laundry, and chatted with hikers about our next few days, where the snow would begin…

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Comments 4

  • David : Apr 26th

    Great work Emma and stay motivated! We all love you!

  • Glena : Apr 26th

    I like what you said about motivation that it doesn’t have to be stressful.

  • Janet Brough : Apr 26th

    Sounds like you’re doing fairly well and meeting lots of interesting people. I used to be a camp counselor at Camp Marston in Julian. It’s beautiful there. I love reading your blog and hearing about your experiences. Cheers to you.

  • Ann Collins : Apr 28th

    I’m enjoying reading about your journey. The pictures are great! Look forward to reading future posts.


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