The Land of Short Trees and Direct Sun: Day 1 on the PCT

It’s finally here.

We are on our way!  David and Jill graciously drove our entire trailmily to the Southern Terminus of the PCT. Our group had shared an Airbnb in San Diego the night prior.

The Night Prior

Everyone was so anxious and jittery the night before.  We got some pizza and beer for dinner however there was a twist – Buck had bought nonalcoholic beer!  It was hilarious. 

After dinner, I questioned all my gear decisions and, for some reason, started collecting zip lock bags to take with us.  Allie snapped me out of it and we went to bed around 10 pm.  Definitely not our best night of sleep, we were so nervous and excited.

The Morning of Our Start Day

The morning started like all mornings before a big trip – we lost the keys to the rental van.    After frantically searching, the keys did turn up and we were off!  The drive to the start of the trail (near Campo CA) took about an hour.  We arrived around 8:30 a.m.

We were greeted by:

  • The border wall
  • The PCT monument
  • A member of the PCTA (Pacific Crest Trail Association) in front of a little sign-in table

First we signed the logbook, listened to the safety talk, and then took photos in front of the monument.  The monument was awesome but a bit smaller than I expected.  However, we did get a ton of awesome pictures.  There were only a few other hikers at the same time so we did not feel rushed.  After we took photos, we went right up to the wall!  It was only a few hundred feet away from the monument.


Actually Hiking

We hiked 11.4 miles today from about 9:30 a.m. to around five p.m.  Allie and I mainly hiked as a duo today although we did see our trailmily at lunch and at camp.  We also met a bunch of other hikers:

  • Cucumber (Buck named him that because he was carrying a cucumber as a snack)
  • Calves (he did have great calves)
  • Ilyia
  • And about 8 others whose names I don’t have yet.

The scenery today was amazing.  There were lots of shrubs and short trees but not much in the way of shade.  We walked across railroad tracks and passed the CLEEF hiking hostel besides hiking through the hills.  The CLEEF trail angle had a pack scale he let us use which was also appreciated!  My pack (3 days of food and 3.5 liters of water) weighed 28 pounds.  Allie’s weighed 25 pounds.  We were really happy with that – I definitely shaved at least ten pounds off my AT start weight.

While hiking, we saw a lot of little lizards, one bigger (but still little lizard) and a horned toad lizard.  The sun was relentless, we had to take a 45-min break from about one p.m. to 1:45.  It helped a lot.  Allie and I made sure to take frequent breaks from the sun, drank a lot of water and electrolytes, and ate all our food for the day!  This is great because most hikers don’t get hungry for the first few weeks and undereat.

No real problems to report.  Allie and I each got a tiny blister but it’s not a big deal.  We have a great first aid kit we put a lot of thought into.  We had a great lunch of bagels and peanut butter and chips.  For dinner, Allie had mashed potatoes and I had mac and cheese.  We also had a Quest protein peanut butter cup for dessert.


All in all, it was a great day!  We are tired but we got to camp at a good time and tomorrow we will start hiking earlier so that we can walk while it is cooler outside.  Today is supposed to be the hottest of the week though so that helps too.  We are finally hiking the PCT!

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