I Did It! 7 Days and 77 miles
I finally made it to Julian! After seven long days, and many lessons, I made it to my first zero day. I think I earned it!
Day 1 – Campo to Mile 11.2
I left Campo with excitement, fear, and too much weight. I was raring to go and had high expectations after so many training hikes with up to 40lbs. I quickly learned that still wasn’t enough. After about 10.5 miles, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to hike all the way to Hauser Creek, so I started to look for a camp site. I found a perfect spot and set up my bivy for the night. As I was contemplating being alone on my first night, another girl hopped off the trail and set up camp. I was a little relieved. She had reef fish on her dress, so I knew we’d get along.
Day 2 – Mile 11.2 to Lake Morena 20.0
The next day wasn’t too bad other than I was struggling with my brain about actually being able to do this. I was getting pretty down. I arrived in Lake Morena and decided to stay the night. I called Tim and cried to him about how I was not ready for this. We talked about my weight and the fact that my bivy (which I chose over my tent to save weight) was collecting too much condensation. In the end, Tim agreed to drive back from LA to bring my tent and other gear, so I could lighten my load. Seriously, who could ask for anything more from a partner?
Day 3/4 – Lake Morena 20.0 to Mount Laguna 41.5
After Tim arrived, we sorted through my gear, and I started quickly tossing things in the car. For each item I gave up or changed, I cried as if each was a failure. But in the end, I was about 8 lbs lighter and much happier.
Tim and I said goodbye for the second time, and off I went much lighter in spirit and in weight. I made it to Boulder Oaks Campground and set up in a beautiful spot for the night. Having my tent was heaven!
The next day I headed for Mount Laguna. It was my longest day yet at 15.5 miles. It was hard, but a lunch stop with my new trail friend Bragg perked me up for the second half of the day. My brain was in overdrive with negative talk. It was getting seriously annoying so I finally told myself, “you can keep talking, but I’m going to keep walking until you shut up.” And guess what? It did, and it hasn’t come back like that since!
Day 5 – Mount Laguna 41.5 to Laguna Campground 47.5
I spent the night in the campground, showered, washed my clothes, and went shopping. I had been getting blisters, so I wanted some socks that didn’t have toes.
I went to the gear store, and before I knew it, the guy had already grabbed everything I said I needed and was practically ringing it up before I could even acknowledge what he had picked out for me. I had to slow down and look at what he had chosen. It’s also impossible to go there without mention of a shake down, or that if you have blisters, you need new shoes. Since my shoes fit exactly how he said they should (with a thumb-width of space at the toe), and I was happy with my weight after Lake Morena, I chose to pack up and carry on down the trail.
Day 6 – Laguna Campground 47.5 to Mile 68.4
And then I stopped listening to my body. I started the day feeling great, and since my pack was at its lightest, I decided to go as far as I could. I managed to hike 20.9 miles through some crazy-ass winds, and at one point questioned my sanity. By the last hour, I was talking, singing, and telling stories outloud. Anything to take my mind off my exhaustion. When I finally set up camp, I cleaned up and went to bed. I think it was 6:30pm.
Day 7 – Mile 68.4 to Scissors Crossing 77.3
As poor of a decision as it was, I attempted the 20 mile day because I was getting discouraged by how long it was taking me to get to Warner Springs and my first resupply. Luckily, I felt good enough the next morning to hike the 8.9 miles to Scissors Crossing, where I knew I could get a ride into Julian and take a zero day. Really, the 20 mile day didn’t save me any time, but at least I was now in town in a hotel room with a tub.
And that concludes week one
The week was full of sun, tears, rattlesnakes, lessons, and some amazing views. My biggest lesson? I can quit or I can keep walking, and as long as I keep walking, I’ll get somewhere.
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