Opening Statement

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Friday, April 14, 2017

PCT 1 - Super Bloom - Campo to Paradise Valley Cafe - 152 PCT miles

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
A few impressions:

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!


  1. Enjoy Kevin - you look happy - Happy Easter.
    -Dave C.

  2. Great pics, Kevin! Blue skies and the Wookie shot, just terrific. Keep it up, it will be fun following your progress! Hopefully you lightened up that pack 49lbs wow... David Christmas

  3. I am so happy for you Kevin. Thanks for sharing your perspectives. -Chuck S

  4. Kevin, I can hear your enthusiasm and joy as you write this! So great to read your progress, and SO happy to see you're living your dream! xo-amy