“Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do Good.”
– Wise words from one of my heroes, George Feeney
So much planning, thinking about, and waiting for this day…to get started on the trail! Day 1 of my 2019 PCT adventure!
The folks in my tent (Niel from Boston, dad, and myself) got up at 5am. The process was to get your pack ready and place on Scout and Frodo’s front deck so that ready to go after breakfast.
The group of volunteers (trail angels is the lingo used) had a phenomenal breakfast ready of steel-cut oatmeal, coffee, frittata, and fresh fruit. After breakfast, another batch of folks loaded us up into the vehicles to head to the trail. Everyone took off at 6am, and an hour later we were winding our way up the gravel drive to the border. Our driver explained that the border patrol, who were within site, were ok with us going up to touch the one section of wall, but not to walk down either direction. I had to really feel I was starting in Mexico, so I snuck my finger through to the other side.
Next, we walked up a hill to where the PCT Southern Terminus monument is and took photos. The trail angels had a flawless system down for taking a group picture with all our different phones in just a few minutes.
After all that good fun, people started gathering their things and slowly different groups would take off down the trail to start their journeys north. I stayed a little longer to get one last shot with the Hoekwater team mascot, Sumi. Much wisdom he has to offer, guide me safely along the path he will…
At precisely 8:00am, I tapped the PCT trailhead post with my trekking pole as we began hiking! It wasn’t long down the trail before we stopped to do some readjustments. Some folks cruised on past and you could tell we likely would not be seeing them again…they appeared quite fit and had many miles on their mind for day 1 and beyond. Our goal was a bit more flexible.
Most of the day we had the same hikers around us and were doing some leap frogging with them. We met up with folks for a nice lengthy lunch break around mile 6.6 where there was a small seasonal stream. This group consisted of Berno and Cristoff from Germany, Ana from Wisconsin, Noa from Israel, Jeff from Minnesota, Mary from England, and Eliza from Vancouver and her dog Aspen.The trail was tough for us flatlanders and we learned there is decent elevation gain/loss right from the beginning. Plus, it was a high of 87 degrees and sunny, which wore us down. However it was very beautiful and scenic. We are apparently in a year with a lot of rainfall. This stretch already had 3 or 4 seasonal streams with good flow, which is typically dry with the first trusted water source not being until mile 15.5. This made it so we didn’t have to carry crazy amounts of water…only a lot of water (we each started with 4 liters). It also makes for great flower blooms (flower photos for Sheryl)…So, we conquered 11.4 miles! Which is probably a little more than we had hoped for today…and we were still standing at the end of the day, admittedly both quite sore and very tired. We found a great tent spot using the map app on my phone (Guthook’s PCT Guide). Tents set up boom, no big deal. Then, “Southwest Surprise” dinner with secret recipe and dehydration by master chef Dave H as well as a lemon pudding dessert for me and chocolate for him. Topped off with a cup of Tang. Delicious! I feel of all the folks out here, we’re eating the best!
We ended up chatting a little with a few other groups who ended up tenting near us, then retreated to the tents when some mosquitos came out. I wrote this update, followed along a bit to the college basketball National Championship game despite horrible service on my phone, then called it a night around 8:45pm. A great start to the trip!