|The Desert was in Bloom|
After a brief stop at our friend Mary Heany's house, my wife Christine drove me to the Southern Monument and trailhead at Campo, California. Beginning the trail was exciting, and after a few quick snaps and a hug, I was off, lumbering down the trail with my 49 pound pack. My objective for the day was to make it to Hauser Creek, 15 miles in.
|Setting off from the Southern Terminus|
It was hard to remember that we were in the desert with so many flowers, and frequent small streams crossing the trail. Every few minutes I had to stop to photograph a flower or colorful vista.
It wasn't long before I discovered my status as the slowest hiker on the PCT. Gee, I was just looking at the flowers! At the end of the day it was satisfying to stumble into Hauser Creek at 5:30 in the evening, tired but elated. Several people commented in a friendly way that just possibly my pack could be a little lighter. The good-natured commentary went up a notch when I struggled to remove a massive bear canister from my pack, and realized that I was the only person at the campsite that had thought it might be a good idea to start off with a bear canister.
|Phyllis and Georgie Starting a Rare Equestrian Thru-Hike|
Over the next 152 miles, I enjoyed the straightforward names of the places that I camped. I've included the PCT mile points and off-trail mileage to give you an idea of the distances. My shortest day was about 5 miles, and the longest was 20.
Hauser Creek - (15.4) - 15.4 hiked
Lake Morena - (20.2) - 4.8 hiked
Fred Canyon - (32.0) - 11.8 hiked
Mount Laguna - (41.5) 0.8 off - 10.3 hiked
Sunrise Trailhead - (59.5) 1.5 off - 19.5 hiked
Stage Coach RV Park, near Sissors Crossing - (77.3) 0.6 off - 18.4 hiked
3rd Pipe Gate - (91.2) 4.3 off - 18.2 hiked
Mountain Valley Resort, near Barrel Springs - (101.2) - 10.0 hiked
Agua Caliente Creek - (114.7) - 13.5 hiked
Trailside - (134.8) - 20.1 hiked
Paradise Valley Cafe, then by car to Carlsbad for a break - (151.9) 1.0 off - 18.1 hiked
|Sunrise Trailhead Earns it's Name|
Superbloom - So many plants were flowering that it was like walking through a garden. I have an album for this section that will give you an idea: PCT 1 photo album
The Trail - Incredibly well graded, built, and maintained. I was wondering how people could hike 20 mile days, and surprised myself by hiking a few long days in the first two weeks. This would only be possible on such a well-built trail.
People - Hikers, "trail angels," and business owners all have an upbeat positive attitude, and "no whining" is an unwritten trail rule. Next would be, "hike your own hike," which means refrain from giving unasked-for advice. Everyone is there because they want to be there, and is also entitled to learn from their own choices.
|Meeting up with Wookie at the Paradise Valley Cafe|
I'll update this blog when I get a chance. Please let me know if you have comments. I hope to see you out on the trail!