Date: April 4, 2016
Southern Terminus (mile 0) to Hauser Creek (mile 15.4)
We’re up at 3:30am and can’t fall back to sleep. We’re drowsy but excited.
Ready to hike.
Our friend Eric picks us up from my parent’s home (thanks Eric!!!) in LA at 5am and we’re on our way. We stop in Carlsbad at Laurie’s friend’s home, drop off our resupply boxes for the next section and drive to the Southern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail.
We see the border fence, then the monument. For the first time it starts to feel real. We’re about the hike the Pacific Crest Trail!
We’re overcome with emotions. Exhilaration, nervousness, happiness. We collect ourselves, take a few pictures, call our friends and loved ones and start hiking around 10am.
We’re taking it slow today. We haven’t hiked in a while, and we’re carrying 6 liters (roughly 13 pounds) of water. And with 5 days worth of food, our packs weigh almost 40 pounds. Heavy, but manageable.
The desert is alive. Flowers are blooming and the hillsides are a vibrant green color.
The sun is shining but it’s not too hot – in the 70s with a breeze. Perfect for desert hiking.
One mile in, Laurie takes out her camera but it won’t take a picture – it focuses but won’t click. The batteries are charged and we have plenty of spare memory cards… but the darn thing won’t capture the picture. A few more miles in, Andy is tightening a strap on his pack and the buckle snaps. Two early lessons that no matter how much time and effort you put into planning, you can’t be prepared for everything. Shit is going to happen and together we will figure out how to proceed.
We take many shoes-off breaks to allow our feet to rest and breathe. It takes great effort to purposefully slow down instead of pushing through mild discomfort, but loved feet now equals less blisters in the future. Hopefully.
At one point high on a plateau, a huge rattlesnake warned us of this presence, causing Laurie to squeal and jump.
Luckily it was well off the trail and we easily continued on.
The day is going well, but having slept for only 4 hours the night before, we start to hit our walls around 3pm. But we want to hike 15.4 miles to Houser Creek. We look for camping options around mile 13 but there isn’t much to be found.
We distract one another with coversation (and Laurie eats Swedish Fish) for a few more miles until we reach our destination for the night. There are only two people (another couple) camped here tonight. Great news since there are only 3 campsites available.
Having seen only 7 northbound hikers since we began, we knew our odds of finding a campsite was reasonably high.
We make dinner, clean our dirty feet, give each other foot massages and crawl into our sleeping bags. We’re sore, tired and ready to sleep. And it’s only 8:30pm. We’ve missed this.
We’re hiking the Pacific Crest Trail!!!
Today we are grateful for: our umbrellas and this opportunity.