edited on trail
Greetings from the beautiful Warner Springs and the home to my first “zero” day on the Pacific Crest Trail. Enough has happened on my first seven days hiking to inspire a lifetime of adventure rhetoric, but I’m going to just try and keep to the basics for now.
When I originally planned my PCT adventure, I budgeted 10-12 miles for each of the first few days, just to break in the legs a bit, and much like many of the other people who started their journeys around me on the same day, those plans were passed by with the excitement of finally being out here. I bagged a healthy 15 miles on the first day (with 7 liters of water weighing me down), and have been averaging the same mileage ever since.
While I feel physically and mentally healthy about my miles (so far), I have ran into and said goodbye to a few hikers already that have proved that the fastest race horses out of the gate aren’t always the first to the finish-line.
On my very first day rumors began spreading around of two hikers who had to receive emergency evacuations thanks to dehydration and over-exhaustion, and since then I have seen nearly a half-dozen hikers bow out or take a step to the sidelines with leg injuries, mental qualms and above all, blisters. No judgements need to be passed upon these hikers, because the trail treats people differently, and speaking from experience it is easy to get ahead of yourself once your well-planned journey actually begins.
Nothing from the home-state could have adequately prepared me for the continuous miles of mountain terrain that I’ve crossed so far, and if I’m learning anything about life on and off the trail, it’s that it really is worth taking your time, it’s worth easing into the adventure, because if you do it right at the beginning, there’s a long road of exploration ahead of me.
Day #1 was indeed exciting, but everyday has had it’s moments, it’s ups and downs so to speak. Although the journey has primarily been in the desert so far, the imaginative illustrations I once had of rolling sand dunes and camel-laden trails has been far from reality of Section A.
The desert so far has had many tones and many shades, and more rain than I was expecting. It’s also had had its share of dry-heat that saps the moisture from your lips and rolling hills of green vegetation, all with tall, rugged southern California Peaks in the distance to serve as a constant reminder that I’m far from the cornfields of home. Every step has been beautiful so far, even when I’m staring at my feet for the last few miles of each day.
I may have come to California and started my PCT journey by myself, but there have been few instances (except when I sought them) when I have been alone. It’s easy to make friends on the Pacific Crest Trail, especially if you’re not afraid to introduce yourself, and despite not being someone who likes to name drop, I have been blessed to meet some others hikers with names like D-Cup, Lid, Cairn, Beard-O, Sweet-Pea, 42, Evac, Dirty-B, Day-Pack and more.
As for food, I’ve been well-fed and always a little hungry. The best meal, or at least the most satisfying so far has been a combination of a long day, a wind-struck mountain side and two beef Ramen noodle packets, packaged salmon and two dollops of table butter… It doesn’t get much better than that.
With over 2,500 miles to go, the best piece of advice I’ve gotten so far is to not think about that, instead just take it one step at a time, and right now, laying down in my tent on the 7th day of my 6-month journey, the next step for me is a good night’s sleep so in the morning I can see where the trail will take me next.
Over and Out