The “Lucky Bunch” finally hits the Trail
Campo to Julian Miles 0-77
Saturday the 25th was a beautiful and sunny day. We got driven out to Campo from our Trail Angel. As soon as we saw the Big Wall and a bit later the well-known terminus, I got a bit shaky. I could still stay inside the car and take the next plane home. Is this thing too big for us? Can’t quit now after 2 years of planning, so of course, we took our first steps on this big, big thing.
Everything is different here. First: it’s just a single trail. There are barely any side trails, it is just this one pathway down in the desert, surrounded by beautiful plants, stones, and scrub. We use two apps to identify birds and plants, so we got pretty busy with that. The first night we made it to Hauser, where we ran into well-known “SlimJim.” Everybody on the Facebook groups knows him and his patches. Such a nice fella.
Things to avoid
The first two days, I made a major mistake: as I had a package waiting for us in Idyllwild, I got stressed to reach it on time and wanted to make as many miles as possible. Laying in our tent on the second morning, I recognized, that this is the worst you could do while out here. I came here to escape deadlines, not to give myself new ones. So I decided to just ignore the package, even though there are new shoes inside. We might even buy new shoes in Idyllwild, so no sense to stress out. We could still use the unused shoes as running shoes back in Germany.
Despite that, there were many new experiences:
Starting your first thru-hike is a series of first times:
Trail life is interesting this year. It was warm during the day, but freezing cold at night. We found out to check the wind first, before pitching the tent, as it might get pretty cold as well. As I am typing this near Scissors Crossing, it is the first hot day for us on the trail.
We also learned to check the weather in advance, as we had to sit out the ninth snowstorm of the season in Mount Laguna, so we had to adjust our daily mileage to not go too far. The first real snow on trail hit us early and we had to do two zeros in a row within the first week.
We got our first big trail magic:
As we hitched back to our accommodation in Mt. Laguna, we went to the Pinehouse Lodge for breakfast (such a good kitchen, you should go there!). As we wanted to pay, the lady told us that a gentleman had taken over our bill for the whole table!! This guy probably paid $200!! Wow! Thank you so much, sir!
We also had our little dramas. I found out that there was a mistake in my shoulder strap (which happens when it is handmade) and the fabric nearly tore apart. But I could hand stitch it and glue it and it lasts perfectly until today. I managed to find an industrial sewing machine in Julian and will restitch it again. Makes me proud to be able to do such things.
We also found our little tramily. We are four people at the moment and because of all the little incidents, we call ourselves the “lucky bunch.” Right now we are pretty sure we will be allowed to enter San Jacinto.
Last but not least: I already got my trail name! Because I carry spices and an onion (and will look for a cucumber in Julian) I was called “Chef” as I love cooking, I am very happy with that name.
As I wrote down everything that happened, I cannot believe that all of this just happened in one week.
We’ll see what the next will bring. Hopefully some snowmelt in San Jac? =)
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