PCT SECTION A
CAMPO TO WARNER SPRINGS
Day 1 – 11.4 miles
Started today. The most intimidating part for me was all the public transportation that I had to take, but it all worked out and was actually easier than I thought it would be.
The trail was pretty mild, not too hard, not too hot. Pretty much lost everyone that was on the shuttle with us, but that’s ok. We took an off-trail road that was supposed to lead to some questionable water…. And boy was it. We found the most disgusting horse trough with the worst oil slick I’ve ever seen, miraculously it tasted fine! Thankful for the water cause otherwise we woulda had a pretty long carry.
We camped alone in a pretty large campsite, only because we snagged the only spot that didn’t have fire ants.
Day 2 – 14.6 miles
Semi uneventful day. The climb up to Lake Morena wasn’t nearly as bad as advertised.
Tried to camp at mile 13 but ended up having to push because there weren’t any good flat spots to pitch. So we decided to risk the Boulder Oaks group campground, it was actually really cool! I’m generally hesitant to camp in campgrounds because of my insomnia/light sleeper issues.
A few people showed up and we spent the evening chatting and hanging out. We met a man from Seattle named Michael, and two women from Canada named Kat and Syd. The shuttle driver, Just Paul was camping here with his wife, One Speed, along with Phantom who we met at the terminus, it was fun to see them even though it had only been one day since the dropped us off. Phantom let us use his Jackery portable charger, he told us he wished he could be in trail and I could see in his eyes that he really meant it.
Saw rattlesnake number one! It was just in the campground, just a lil sweet guy.
Day 3 – 13.9 miles
Had another excellent day! The morning started out rough because I had eaten too much cheese the day before and felt kinda sick that night. But as soon as I got a few miles in I felt much better. It was a bigger climb than I had expected but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t totally kick me in the face. It was pretty hot but water was a bit more plentiful (and fresh, yeah boy!) and there was a nice breeze. Apparently there’s a wind advisory for tomorrow and I dunno how that’s gonna be but I’m sure it’ll be fine.
The only thing that sucks about today is I found out that the mount Laguna post office opens at noon…. And I thought it was 9, oops. But that’s ok, we decided to sleep in tomorrow and just lolly gag into town. Probs get some food, and then wait around for a bit I guess. Gonna try to do 13 miles after mount Laguna which should be fine cause it looks relatively flat, but we’ll see.
Still feelin pretty good, my feet hurt more than anything today but it was just at the end of the day and cause of the weight of the pack, just tired is all, I’m sure they’ll get used to it.
Tonight we set up camp along an old forest service road, it’s a really wooded area with a lot of pine trees and it feels like home (pre-fire anyway when the trees were still green). We’re camping with Fry Guy, Kat and Syd. We have no idea where Michael is but we hope to see him again!
Day 4 – 16.3 miles
The day started out well enough. There was a wind advisory but things hadn’t quite picked up yet. We stopped in Mount Laguna at the Tavern and got some food. I got bacon and breakfast potatoes and was v happy. We had to wait around at the visitor center for the post office to open, but it worked out great because I found some wet wipes in a hiker box in the bathroom, score!
We got our boxes, and headed out. We got a late start, probably around 12:40pm and we had 15 or so miles to cover to find a camp that allegedly had a decent windbreak. A must with how ridiculous the wind got.
At first it started as a nice breeze…. A few big gusts now and then…. Which eventually turned into an incessant brutal wind that just would not let up. The next 12 or so miles were exhausting. A few times I was almost swept off my feet. The sand whipped from the ground and pelted any exposed skin we had. We passed by a monument of some sort with a bunch of grave markers on it, sadly it seems it’s a popular spot for suicides.
We couldn’t find anywhere to camp, and the only decent spot we did see was full. Battered and exhausted, we trudged on, light diminishing…. The sun would set soon, we needed to figure it out.
Reluctantly, we turned around and went for the crowded camp. It was full, but the men were gracious enough to let us crash their camp. We found a pretty shit grassy spot and pitched the tent in a hurry.
It’s only been up for an hour and the inside is already soaked from condensation. Just gonna be one of those nights I guess. Oh well, gotta embrace the suck, right? And boy, does it suck sometimes. Just hope this fucker doesn’t collapse on us tonight, I haven’t really slept well in over a week and I’m starting to feel the fatigue.
Hope tomorrow is better, but even if it’s not, I know this can’t last forever and for every high there is a low and vice versa. Today we got the best views on trail, I’m glad I stopped to take a picture even when I didn’t want to. It’s brutal out here but it’s also perfect in ways that I just can’t find the words to describe.
Day 5 – 12.3 miles
Baby’s first blister! For real, never really had one and got one, what’s with that??? The wind thankfully died down around midnight or so and I got a more decent sleep than I have but admittedly still not great.
Going to Julian tomorrow and I’m v excite to sleep in a bed and junk. Starting to get into more of a groove. We saw Michael again today, it was funny because he was behind some bushes introducing himself to other hikers and we immediately knew it was him from the thick German accent.
Fry Guy, Sid and Kat were nowhere to be found though, not sure if they’ll pop back up. We haven’t really been seeing a lot of other hikers, it appears that everyone is either way slower or way faster than us and there doesn’t seem to be an in between (yet).
Today was pretty easy and cruisy, I wanted to take it easy since yesterday was a bit more strenuous than intended or wanted. I really don’t want an injury, already seen a few people with issues so it’s a good reminder to not be a hero.
Tonight we’re camped by a forest service road under a power pole, really feeling like home with this fire road campin. My favorite thing about the power pole is that it casts some really decent shade! I just have to move my sit pad 1/4” every hour to chase it, without a doubt worth it.
Today was better, I see myself getting humbled by things and I like that. Sometimes it’s hard for me to get out of the mindset about wishing bad stuff didn’t happen. Angler has been helping me with my positive attitude (I’ll admit, my predisposition is to be pretty negative, and it’s honestly something I hate about myself). I’m really glad to be doing this with him.
Excited for town tomorrow, hopefully someone wants to pick our degenerate asses up!
Day 6 – 8.5 miles
Right as I went to go to bed, the shitty karaoke started. It was 8:30 and I was so ready to hopefully finally get a good nights sleep….. and then I heard it. The array of 90s alt rock music bellowed through the canyon up to our camp.
At first I thought it was the people camped below us and was ready to go tell them to shut the hell up, but then I realized it was actually coming from the valley below – what can ya do about that? I was livid, but Angler reminded me to take it for what it was, so I closed my eyes, and reluctantly tried to sleep – lucky for me, the party died completely at 10pm. I slept great actually, joke’s on me.
We saw Michael again and hiked with him for a while, it was nice to see him again, he told us about his life and all the places he’s been. He was in Germany when the Berlin Wall was torn down and I really emphasized with him leaving his home because of a bad situation.
We talked to him about the Camp Fire and being displaced and the general affect that it’s had on our lives. He told us a hilarious story about accidentally almost shitting on a marmot, I’m still laughing about it just typing this out. We stopped often to take pictures of all the flowering cacti.
We woke up earlier than we have been, we knew we had a short 9 miles or so to Julian where we had prebooked a hotel. As we approached Scissors Crossing, I got nervous about hitchhiking. I’ve never done it before and being someone who gets ridiculously car sick I had a lot of nerves. But I just popped a Dramamine and hoped for the best!
We got to the highway and I stuck my thumb out, the third car pulled over and from it emerged a man who was about done with his sobo journey! How wild! It was a sweet elderly women who didn’t find our trail names cute – I asked her if she picks up hikers often and she told us this was only her third time picking someone up! She offered us hard boiled eggs (more like forced them on us).
The first hitch was a success, however, the women veered off the road often and was so jerky with her driving that even with Dramamine I felt sick. Angler and I were honestly kinda scared. We finally made it to Julian, dizzy and nauseous but thankful to not be in her car anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I was extremely grateful for the ride! I think we’re going to try to take a shuttle back tomorrow though….. Might feel a bit safer.
We waited for the hotel room to be ready for a while and it sounded like almost everything here is booked, so I’m really glad I booked this one ahead. While we were waiting we met a mother daughter duo from Portland and we talked to them for a while.
Sitting at the Julian Lodge currently, waiting for our laundry to be returned and to go back out for dinner. I found another blister and I’m starting to get kinda worried about my feet. Maybe I’ll buy another pair of Injinjis at the outfitter, we have to stop there anyway on the way to dinner to sign up for the shuttle.
We went and got some food at the Julian Cafe, I got a salad and it was so nice to have some fresh food! My stomach is definitely still adjusting to all this trail food so getting something fresh was just the thing I needed. I also picked up a pair of Injinjis, I’m sure the blisters aren’t a huge deal, but I’m the biggest hypochondriac! Maybe the sock liners will have a placebo affect, I wouldn’t be surprised if I gave myself blisters with my brain, I can literally make myself sick.
We’re spending the night in Julian tonight and we’re hitting the trail again tomorrow. The hotel is nice but I kinda miss the trail at the same time.
Day 7 – 14.5 miles
Got a ride out of Julian today, slept so good in a normal bed, and I’m feeling more alive today. We took a shuttle from Two Foot Adventures instead of trying to hitchhike again (after our honestly terrible experience the day prior) and the ride was much safer and actually enjoyable! AND I didn’t even feel a little sick, score!
The climb out of Scissors Crossing was long but I was feeling pretty good after a good rest and a salad (ok, and I ate a few gels….). There was a really nice breeze for most of the day, it did get a bit gusty at times but nothing even close to that horrendous windstorm that we endured.
It was a long water carry today and my blister was bothering me quite a bit. I got some Injinjis at the outfitter and I like them! They don’t help with pre-existing blisters but they sure do help new ones from forming! I know that this blister will heal soon, so I didn’t let myself get discouraged about it.
We finally reached the water cache around 5pm which I was happy about especially with our late 10:30am start. So thankful for people who maintain these caches, cause holy shit it is dry out here. To our surprise, we found Fry Guy at the cache! We were so stoked to see him again, so we’re all camping together tonight. Think I’ll sleep pretty well, Angler has a brand new sleeping bad after his blew out on him, so I’m sure he’ll sleep better too.
Tomorrow we have another easy day planned – 10 miles to Montezuma where we’re going to stay a night in a cabin. It’s kinda silly because we just got back from Julian, but otherwise it would be 8 days into Idyllwild with no break and I think our bodies would appreciate the extra rest. This is a marathon, not a sprint and I think pacing ourselves has really been paying off so far.
Day 8 – 9.7 miles
Wow, where do I start? Today was challenging. Not necessarily I’m terms of mileage, but mostly because of the ailments that I’ve been dealing with this far. So far, I’ve developed a worse than usual allergy to latex, so that’s cool, no KT tape or Leuco tape for me I guess. My blister is also somehow getting worse. Thankfully I don’t have any new ones or any other foot trouble other than this damn blister really. Because of the blister I’ve been walking funny and now that’s caused pain in my thigh.
My allergies are going nuts with the wind, sinus headaches galore (started taking allergy meds again, seems to have solved that). The hardest part though by far is that I’m sleeping like utter dog shit out here, which I figured would be the case since I sleep poorly at home anyway. It’s just hard, I’ve been going on like 4 hours of sleep a night for about a week now and damn…. It’s really takes it out of you.
Last night it got super windy and the tent kept collapsing, I think I’m just going to have to be brave and cowboy camp. Next time it’s windy I’m doing that. Carpe diem! Might as well!
Now, this all might sound very negative, and I assure you, I am not letting these things discourage me. But I am also realistic in what is happening currently – I can’t fake that it’s easy, it’s not. I wanted adversity, and I wanted something hard, and I can’t bring myself to complain about something that I’m choosing to do. I love it out here and all the new things I’m experiencing. Even the shit, because there’s always a way to turn it around and make it better.
Today was fun. We stayed at Montezuma Bed No Breakfast, which was sorta like a hostel. It was cool actually. This place is awesome and the people who run it are incredibly kind.
The past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about how I see myself. And I realized that I actually compare myself to others quite a lot. It’s funny because I’m the first person to throw the “oh, screw what they think/do, do you’re own thing!” rhetoric around but I’m just as guilty as everyone else. It’s easy to do out here, usually people ask your start date and immediately you see the gears turning “how long have they been out/mileage per day, etc etc etc” and everyone does it.
Many of my negative thoughts towards myself is because of comparisons I make. The past few days when I have negative thoughts, I take a moment to be mindful and remember that it really doesn’t matter. I’m out here cause I wanna be. I’m not out here for anyone else.
Also, we hit 100 miles today. That was cool. Is it weird that I’m like “yeah, this has been rough but I could do this 25 1/2 more times”? Cause that’s totally what I’m thinking.
Day 9 – 8.3 miles (of section A, section B miles not counted, will be continued)
I’m glad I took an extra nearo to rest, I slept so great last night, by far the best nights sleep so far. Thanks so much to Montezuma Market for having this awesome place to stay, best “town stop” on trail yet.
We were both feeling pretty good today, and decided to try to have a more positive outlook on things. Sometimes it’s hard when you feel like your body is falling apart but then I remember that surgeons broke my spine and essentially screwed it back together and I’m still upright! So a blister and a sore knee really isn’t the end of the world.
Today we saw Eagle Rock. What an absolute granite unit. Wow. I took a picture for my dad because he loves America and also granite, seemed right up his alley.
We picked up a resupply box in Warner Springs and had a salt and vinegar chip lunch. And with that, we have finished section A! I’m proud of us for finishing this section!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.