Howdy Y’all & Happy Trails
Holy cow, I cannot believe that it has already been one month since thru hikers have started their trek North from the southern terminus! Now, I know that this is not the traditional type of blog updates that thru hikers are doing currently about their journeys. But, here are some things that I have learned/noticed/thought about when working.
First, it has been awesome meeting everyone! There are people from all over the WORLD that are showing up. I give my biggest bravos to people that are doing their best with the English language. One of my favorite questions to ask is where people are from. Naturally, there are a lot of people from California, Oregon, and Portland (I think because of their proximity to the trail). But there are also a lot of Europeans which is also very very cool. I am definitely learning my geography of the different cities and towns out here because of this.
I have even meet three people that I knew from the AT last year who are out hiking this year. Crazy! Everyone is definitely bringing the energy and the trail community still continues to impress me. I have even meet people that live maybe thirty minutes from my hometown, and if I go back living there, maybe we can all reconnect. Who knows!
Second, I wrote about it in my cover letter for this job, but knowing that while the thru hiker might be prepared and ready, the family/friends might not be for watching someone go wander into the wilderness. I have seen friends and family members cry when they are walking away. We try to do our best to get the message across that it is okay and safe, and that there are other people out there on trail.
Some of the best pieces of advice that I got right before starting was that there are many folks out there that will want to hike with you; especially if you were a solo female hiker like me. To that just knowing that you can say ‘hey, I would prefer to hike by myself today instead of in a group’ is honestly very helpful.
The other best piece of advice is to start slow and get those trail legs first to avoid injury. In addition, backup all of the photos and things you have every time you get to town. That is still one of my biggest regrets from my thru hike because I lost a bunch. It might be cheesy but “HYOH” or hike your own hike. The second cheesiest advice is “smiles before miles”. I lived by that mentality and I think it definitely helped to put a positive attribute towards days that were not favorable.
Third, there are a lot of people that show up at the terminus freaking out about snow. And mother nature this year has been favoring that freezing snow and rain. But knowing that the snow lays up in elevation, and that there are others trying to navigate through the snow is important to realize.
Even with the San Jacinto trail closure, telling people that they still have 150 miles in front of them (unless they are planning on getting there within three days…very unlikely) then they have plenty of time first. The San Jacinto trail report is a resource we keep sharing with folks to check out before they get to the area. The PCTA website is also an extremely helpful resource because it gives possible reroutes around the area that are safe.
I got an itch. That feeling deep in your soul when you know that you want to get out there and go on an adventure? That. There are so many people and families that ask if I have hiked the trail and my answer is that I have done “bits and pieces of it”. Seeing all of these aspiring thru hikers start their journeys when they are all clean and so full of energy is really inspiring. I really don’t think that I’ll be able to get away from thru hiking anytime soon.
One last thing, I thought I was coming to Southern California to get away from the cold wet weather, holy guacamole was I wrong. There has been so much rain! I hope that hikers are playing it safe when out there because being cold and wet is a recipe for hypothermia. On the bright side, one of the trail angels had a paddle board that we were able to paddle down one of the rivers one evening. Can’t say if that has been done before. We could tell that the water level was not usually that high because we kept running into trees and branches. It tested how flexible we were when trying to get out of the way while laughing the entire time!
April 4th, 2023
p.s. I discovered spicy honey mustard combos and they are delicious!
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