Brutally Beautiful...the First 6 Days
This blog is likely going to consist of random ramblings and things I think of while we spend our day hiking. Some days there might be stories and others just observations of our new life.
Day 1: Cali/Mexico Border to Hauser Creek Approx. 15 miles.
We arrived at the Southern Terminus to the PCT around 8:30am and it was….crowded. I know the PCTA released 50 permits per day, but in my own naive thinking I thought it would just be us and the border patrol. Nope. Waited in line to take our picture with the monument & off we went into the SoCal desert. It was all smiles and giggles until about mile 12 when I hit the wall. My backpack has a name: Beast. It’s kinda like carrying a small child on my back, all day, up and down mountains. With 3 more miles to go we were chatting with a dude from Montana & missed a turn. Hobbled into our campsite at Hauser Creek, ate some watery noodles & a beef stick and called it a night at our new bedtime: 8pm.
Day 2 Hauser Creek to Lake Morena Approx. 5 miles
Decided to keep today short as it started with a big climb out of the canyon we slept in. Halfway up the canyon I nearly had a panic attack. I forgot to brush my teeth. WTF, it’s only day 2 and my personal hygiene has hit a new low. What would Dr Kleiger (that’s my dentist) say? Well, me & my unbrushed teeth marched out of the canyon & straight to the Malt shop at the Lake Morena Campground. 2 Gatorades & a large sausage pizza later, Kilo & I decided we will be the only thru-hikers who make it to Canada and actually GAIN weight.
Day 3 Lake Morena to Cibetts Flats Campground Approx. 13 miles.
Woke up this morning to frost on the tent, a wet sleeping bag, a deflated air mattress and 1,000 mosquitoes staring down at us from the outside of the tent. Quickly I’ve realized the mornings are the hardest part of my day. It is hard to get out of my warm and cozy sleeping bag to go pee behind a bush. And repacking my backpack seems to take like 2 hours every morning. Today while hiking I ate an entire bag of M&Ms. 600 calories of chocolate and peanuts…doesn’t fair well if I continue to forget to brush my teeth. We had the campsite to ourselves tonight. New things I am thankful for that I never truly appreciated previously: trash cans, picnic tables and pit toilets.
Day 4 Cibetts Flats to Mt Laguna Approx 10 miles
Today’s hike literally went from cactus to pine trees. It was amazing to watch the terrain (and air temperature) change so drastically in just 10 miles. Mt Laguna is a tiny town with one restaurant and we made it to the Pine House Cafe & Tavern just before they closed. A chicken sandwich, basket of fries & a beer later we again confirmed we will likely gain weight before arriving to Canada. By the way, it feels like someone straight up punched me in both hips. They are bruised and sore from carrying the Beast.
Day 5 Mt Laguna to Oriflamme Canyon Approx 16 miles
One quick word of advice, the Complete Cookie may seem like a great thru-hiking snack as it’s loaded with protein; however, there are some adverse side affects (burping the taste of plastic is the least of your worries) that may not be conducive to sleeping in close quarters with other hikers. We’ll leave it at that. Today’s hike was brutal, and it was beautiful. We hiked a ridge line above the Anza-Borrega Desert and the views were incredible. It was insanely windy…like blow me & the Beast over windy and the trail was super rocky which did a number on our ankles, but it was worth it. Today was exactly why I wanted to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I saw a whole new part of SoCal I’ve never seen before. Today we crossed the 50 mile mark.
Day 6 Oriflamme Canyon to Julian Approx 7.5 miles
All aboard the Struggle Bus. Today was rough. I have a blister on my left foot and my ankles hurt like hell from walking over all of the rocks yesterday (while hiking I kept picturing the scene from Misery when Kathy Bates bashes the guy’s ankles with a sledgehammer). This morning I had to repack my sleeping bag stuff sack 3 times before I got it right. Last night we camped right off the trail amongst giant boulders. It was insanely windy…50 - 60 mph gusts of wind, so we didn’t get much sleep. We hiked to Sunrise Highway where I hitchhiked for the first time (not advisable in real life, but required on the trail). It took about 8 cars before a truck going in the opposite direction turned around & picked us up. He is an ultra runner who lives in the area & and will be section hiking the desert in about a month. He was happy to drive us into Julian, but not before telling us about the 200 lb mountain lion he came face to face with in the area. The most dangerous animal we’ve seen so far is the fire ant. Once in Julian, we headed over to the local brewery to partake in some pizza and a beer, naturally, because we are trying to put on those lbs. Tonight we are staying in Linda’s adorable tiny home & we showered! Looked at myself in the mirror today. No uni-brow yet.