Time of reflections chapped face and lips: No regrets

Our predawn and coffee time. Beautiful way to tart the day.

Lesson one on the trail you must always remain flexible and have fluidity. It is an essential skill set out here, learning to let go of what you can not control brings a lot of freedoms, and joys.

Our original date to catch the Southern Terminus Shuttle https://pctsouthernterminusshuttle.com/ was to be March 29th in which turned out to be day zero due to the weather. We had freezing cold rain and high winds to go with it.

Originally we were to catch the shuttle 9:30 am at the Old Town train station in San Diego which was about a ten minute walk from where we were staying. The day before we had looked at the weather numerous times questioning what the right choice was. We were worried slightly however we joked about how it rained on our wedding day. After all we are out here celebrating our silver wedding anniversary.

Let me rephrase that it torrential down poured in the middle of our outdoor reception. So we  felt like it was only fitting and took it as a sign of great luck. Well after a good night sleep reevaluating the weather, seeing the rain outside our hotel window where it was nice and warm, and seeing the winter advisory for campo we knew the right thing to do would be to postpone it by a day. No sense in starting out in a moment of excitement getting all our gear wet, being cold, and possibly getting sick day one.

Needless to say it wouldn’t be the first time in our short start that we’ve had to make changes due to weather. We were disappointed yes,however we met an absolutely wonderful older couple while walking around San Diego in between rain showers. The husband had great stories of his past adventures from hiking the PCT, absolutely amazing pictures that he he had set up in his house. His sweet wife gave us handmade scarves to keep us warm for when we leave tomorrow. In the end it turned out to be a day of resting, relaxing, and restoring ourselves for what we are about to experience.

The following day we caught our shuttle that in itself is an amazing experience and I would suggest it to anyone. Spending time at the CLEEF and socializing was educational, valuable, as well as motivating. I would recommend this to anyone attempting to hike the PCT.

We arrived at the CLEEF to freezing cold temperatures and down pouring rain needless to say our hearts dropped as we made the decision once again to postpone our start for one more day. At this point we felt as if we were just wasting not only our resources but our time away from our family following our dream to embark on this epic journey.

It would be dishonest of me to say my spirits weren’t being lowered and doubt was creeping in, as well as homesickness at this point. I was incredibly angry I just wanted to start this was day two.

However once again it turned out to be absolutely wonderful. The kind hosts of the Southern Terminus and trail angels allowed for a large group of us to stay inside an old bunk house. We stayed warm and friendships quickly developed. Having the one extra night sitting around talking, laughing, and just getting to know each other was an excellent way to start this journey. We were all forced, if we choose to start dry that is, to step back for a day. Normally one wouldn’t have this amount of time to get to know one another.

By nature I am an introverted person. The trail has quickly started to pull that away. I’ve learned camaraderie is a huge part of trail life. Each day we encourage and support one another to move on. We’ve already faced some really hard days of elevation, long water carries, and crazy weather together. Even the ones that have separated from the group we check in on one another often via text, Garmin, and social media.

Three days into the trail word started traveling about severe wind up to 80 mph and below freezing temperatures. Again we were on such a good pace, feeling wonderful but knew we needed to get off trail for the night out of safety. Luckily we were close enough to mount Laguna

lodge area. We were forced into a partial zero. Our hearts sunk not being able to move forward.

However many of us rushed to the next location and accidentally met up at the first little cafe we saw on top of mountain enjoying a great lunch together. We were able to meet some new hikers  that left prior to us as well. Turned out to be a wonderful afternoon of warmth, laughter, evaluating how we were all feeling so far, and planning for the near future. As well as a great night sleep!

Since day three we have encountered numerous times when we think we can do more miles than we’re ready for with terrain, heat, etc and then there are other days when before you know it you’ve walked almost twenty miles. Our first twenty miler was the day we had hit our hundred mile marker. This was the first real severe hot day where we were exposed to the sun.

One of the things we are still learning is food planning. Towards the end of the day we were evaluating whether we had enough to make it to a certain area for resupply as we looked at the maps and called when we had serviced a last minute decision was made to stay at Montezuma Market. Neither one of us wanted to spend the extra to stay a whole night somewhere again trying to use caution and spread our days out.

This turned out to be a huge blessing, not only did we meet a great couple from Australia, wash laundry, and meet the owners, I made a huge mistake and didn’t refuel properly. I became incredibly ill that evening. No sooner did we get there I was nauseous, very fatigue, and had cold chills I needed the rest. Once I was able to shower, refuel with some electrolytes, and nap all was well. As a runner I know better. Lesson was learned, mindfulness to keep drinking in the heat.

Letting go and allowing the trail to guide us has been the best blessing of all. Not trying to micromanage every day, or plan out mile by mile just letting life unfold naturally has opened up blessing after blessing.

As of right now we , I am loving trail life even with my chapped face and cracked lip from the weather there is nothing I would change.

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