Day 1: 4/9/14, PCT Mile 15.4

PCT Miles hiked:15.4
Camped near: Hauser Creek

Thank heavens for well placed rest areas. This morning, I may have overdone the “hydrate before you leave an area with water”, henceforth known as cameling up. By the time we exited the freeway on our way to the Mexico border, I was seriously contemplating asking Frodo to pull over on the side of the road as the tea, and >1L of water I’d already drank by 7am was fast catching up to me. A fabulous rest area sign appeared, 2 miles! Rudely, I interrupted the conversation with a desperate plea to stop. And all was well, no mayday dives needed. Whew!

The border was an interesting area, a very ugly fence, but the PCT monument was still thrilling. Over the course of the first few miles, I saw 4 border patrol vehicles, but no one approached us. We were all giddy at first, unable to believe we were on the PCT at last. We all hiked together for a while, then soon the hikers trying to get to Lake Morena (20 miles) today went on ahead. We hiked for most of the morning with Far Out, a nice younger guy also planning to take it easy at first, and who is camped with us tonight. Amongst the 4 of us, 3 are in a skirt/kilt, we have 3 umbrellas, and 3 are stoveless! None of the 3 groups of 3 are composed of exactly the same folks 🙂

Ugh, a gear malfunction on Day 1. My umbrella (already having suffered a broken off spoke and 2 tears back in January), didn’t completely loose a 2nd spoke, but it cracked off on one end. I’m able to prop it in place when the umbrella is open but it’s a stop gap measure, and sadly enough I don’t believe duct tape is the solution. At least I have a new umbrella at home! Definitely a great thing to have out here – personal shade, though definitely shade to shade hiking is in effect. It’s been a hot one – near record highs according to my weather app. 88 degrees, at least it didn’t break 90 as originally forecast! I learned today that I definitely need more than 4 1/2 L to go 15 miles in these temps – I was seriously thirsty pretty much all afternoon after our short siesta. As I was saving 2L for camp and to go the 4.6 miles tomorrow morning to Lake Morena, I was definitely rationing myself. Trail magic on Day 1! Just as I was berating myself that I really should have carried 7+L from the border to dry camp, we came up to Hauser Creek (totally dry), and there were water bottles some trail angel had left. I happily collected a liter, greatly reassured that I could drink enough tonight to rehydrate.

Thus far the PCT is living up to its reputation – wonderfully well graded, very few rocks/great footbed, and lovely views. Susan and Joan are crowing over the wildflowers and trees, while I have been simply enjoying an environment so different than east coast hiking, and so very happy to be on the trail again. Water remains the primary concern – carrying enough for the conditions and the distance between sources. While the heat was getting to me at times today, nothing like the “field of death” last year on the AT. The humidity is thankfully low out here – a dry heat indeed though that didn’t stop me from sweating!

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