Our First Day on the PCT

I woke up at 4:45 a.m. anxious about the day ahead of us. I told me my mom that we wanted to leave at 9:00 a.m., but we had a few things to take care of before we left, and I wanted to get going. I cut my toenails while Nick showered and grabbed a clipper for us to pack. We cooked a yummy breakfast of serrano pepper, broccoli, and questionable tempeh. I cut Nick’s hair, then he cut mine (I cut my own bangs). We were on the road by 9:20 a.m.

We wanted to get an ursack (bear-resistant bag), so Nick called some REIs in Encinitas and San Diego. The Encinitas one said they didn’t have bags, however, when we checked online it said they did. We were also hoping to get opsaks (scent resistant bags) but couldn’t find any at the REI or neighboring Walmart.

We then made a lunch stop at Taco Bell, where Nick and I had the best Taco Bell burrito of our life. It had seasoned fries, tortilla chips, and a yummy green sauce. I got my mom a Mexican pizza. The place was crowded and we waited a bit. Nick charged his phone.

Finally, we made it to the southern terminus. My mom took some pictures of us at the starting point and we signed the register behind the monument. The border wall ran as far as the eye could see. There we met some thru-hikers, Vivi and Naomi. They recently ran the LA marathon and they’re planning to do 20 mile days so I don’t think we’ll see them much. My mom was getting emotional and drove off.

Me at the southern terminus

Nick and I set off for the trail! It was around 2:00 p.m., and we planned to hike 7.5 miles. We ran into one man jogging just before we stumbled upon the campsite right near the start of the trail, CLEEF. There were a few folks hanging around, including ViVi, Naomi, the man who drove them, and a guy who thru-hiked the PCT in 2016. I lamented that I didn’t physically train and he assured me that the trail would provide all the training I needed.

Nick hiking along

We kept going and hiked alone for the remainder of the day. After two miles, we came across a nice flowing stream. Someone had left behind their water bottle.

We kept hiking, through rolling up and downhills. We passed a campsite about five miles in and decided to push to the 7.5 mile one. We snacked on TJs trail mix with chocolate and cashews and cranberries and chili lime cashews.

Filtering water is fun!

We made it to a stream at mile 6.6 and saw that we wouldn’t have water for the next ten miles. We decided to fill up all of our water and put on our heavy packs for camping that night. When we got to the campsite a mile later, we saw that it was taken and there was only room for one tent! It was 7:15 p.m. and we were starting to worry. Where would we sleep for the night? Would we need to backtrack to mile 5 or push to the next campsite at mile 11? Neither seemed like a good option. We decided to hike ahead a little further to see if we could find anything, and we noticed a campsite with a man and a woman (Joey and Mary) already there. There was enough room for us and we joined them, relieved.


Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 1

  • Kate Potter : May 31st

    I love the photos and your descriptions. Questionable tempeh? Funny! Your dad and I ate the leftovers. It was actually pretty good.
    Vivi and Naomi seemed like nice people, as I’m sure EVERYONE on the trail is.
    Thanks for the update and keep them coming.


What Do You Think?