‘Twas the night before thru-hike, when all through the camp,

Not a creature was stirring, each ready to tramp;

Their backpacks were packed by the tents with care,

In hopes that adventure soon would be there;

The hikers were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of mountain tops danced in their heads;

The border’s just yonder, and I with my map,

Had just settled down for a long trailhead nap.

Current LocationCLEEF campground, Campo, CA
Miles Hiked0
Miles to Go2,655.2
Percent of Trail Completed0%

After a 25-day, 10,000-mile train trip, I arrived in San Diego on Saturday. I had all of Sunday to collect my thoughts, buy some food, and mentally pivot toward the next adventure. My final task before heading toward Campo this morning was to swing by the post office.

In addition to my PCT gear, I had carried a few extra items on my train journey. I placed my laptop, travel pillow, pair of sweatpants, and a few other odds and ends into a Priority Mail box and sent them home to Virginia. Dumping the box into the bin, it began to sink in. It’s finally time to hike.

I took the Orange Line Trolley from downtown San Diego to El Cajon, then 894 bus to Forest Gate Road outside Campo. From there it was a quick one mile walk to the CLEEF campground, where I’m camped for the night just 1/4 mile from the southern terminus.

There are about 15 other prospective thru-hikers camped here, preparing to begin the trail tomorrow. It’s first-day-of-school vibes, meeting new faces while everyone is excited and nervous for the adventure ahead. It’s great to be around thru-hikers again. There’s nothing like the instant camaraderie you find in the trail community.

I can’t wait to get started. My USA by Rail adventure was a fun kick-off, increasing my appreciation for both Western landscapes and slow-paced travel. I even crossed the PCT five times during the trip, building my excitement. Now it’s time to hop on the PCT train toward Canada and hang on for the journey ahead.

“Merry thru-hike to all, and to all a goodnight!”

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Comments 1

  • Richard : Apr 13th

    Hello Kirby! I look forward to hearing about your adventures. Good Luck!


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