Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sonora, señor!

I've been looking forward to this day ever since I hiked the AT in 2010. Four long years of planning, dreaming and waiting. On April 25, 2014 this day finally came. Ladies and Gentlemen, I just set out on a journey from Mexico to Canada.

After camping for the night in Scout's & Frodo's backyard we got up at 5 a.m. to get our packs ready, grab some breakfast and then head out to the border. On our trip from San Diego down to Campo we got a first impression of the South Californian landscape. If you thought this would be nothing but flat desert lands, think again. The mountains we're hiking through in this section of the PCT are up to 6000 ft high, and the desert heat doesn't make it easier.
After taking our pictures and signing the register at the southern monument near Campo we set out towards Lake Morena Campground, 20 miles north. Since it was the ADZPCTKO weekend, most of us wanted to hike this section in a day to get there for dinner. I arrived a bit too late, so the kitchen was already closed, but someone handed me a burrito when he saw me strolling across camp. The following night a heavy storm came up and pulled out my tent stakes. Believe me, it's no fun to get up at 3:30 a.m. to re-stake your tent while it's pouring down on you. At this point I was pretty glad to be still on the campground, so I packed in all my gear and made a run for the bathrooms. Turned out I wasn't the only one whose tent got torn down by the wind. A group of about ten hikers had the same problem; some of them were really unfortunate: the rain drowned their sleeping bags. Luckily I wasn't one of them.
The next day consisted mostly of hanging around with other thru-hikers, meeting some old AT friends, and attending presentations such as the water and snow report. Too bad this day was partly ruined when I realized I was becoming sick. I must've caught a cold a couple of days ago, so hiking out the next morning wasn't much fun. Anyway, here's a message to Mother Nature: if you thought tearing down my tent in the middle of the night and giving me a cold on my second day on the trail would prevent me from hiking to Canada, you've really gotta come up with something better than this!
Because of my sickness I decided to take it easy for a couple of days. I didn't want to push myself too hard, so on the day I left Lake Morena I only hiked about 12 miles and shared a campsite with some other hikers at milepoint 32. Water is not available at every campsite out here, so oftentimes it's important to plan ahead for the next day. In some parts of the desert there are very long waterless stretches of 20 - 30 miles.
On April 29 I hiked into Mount Laguna Campground, about five miles north of the Mount Laguna Store and Post Office. When I left camp the next morning I found myself hiking through heavy winds of about 40 - 50 mph. All. Day. Long! Well, at least the sky was perfectly clear; I couldn't see a single cloud. These winds are called Santa Ana winds and occur every once in a while out here in the desert. Fortunately they were going uphill, so I didn't have to worry about getting blown off the ridge. I was happy to find a campsite down in a canyon that day. Although it had no water, it offered protection from the wind, so I could pitch my tent. That night at Lake Morena taught me that my tent wasn't made for wind speeds of 50+ mph.
So, right now I'm in Julian, CA at PCT mile 77. Next stop will be Warner Springs in a couple of days. Internet access is pretty scarce out here, so I can't update my blog as often as I'd like to. Don't worry; no blog updates doesn't mean that I'm dead ;-)
Also, I couldn't upload any pictures here in the library. I hope to get a chance to do that when I make it to Warner Springs.
So far,

1 comment:

  1. I guess no news is good news so enjoy each&every mile and stay away from the colds