The First 100 Miles of the Pacific Crest Trail

It’s all coming back, it’s all coming back to me now…

received_10102131884189064.jpegThe pack weight, the soreness, the “hiker hobble,” the hunger, the smell, the complete exhaustion, the spam wraps and tuna tacos (topped with CheezIts, of course) and the complete and total joy of being enveloped in the best scenery nature has to offer.

 

Despite all the familiar pains and tedious tasks that come with thru-hiking, I still feel like I’m falling in love all over again. Over the past few days, it’s like we’ve been walking through a painting, and time is measured in miles once more.

20160506_092015.jpg
Progress.

 

It’s been seven days since my amazing friend, Lauren, drove us from her home in San Diego and dropped us off right at the Mexico border near the small town of Campo, CA. Since then, we’ve hiked 109 miles to Warner Springs.

We left Campo last Friday in a slight drizzle meanwhile carrying far too much water. Our new ultralight backpacks were reaching

20160507_130427.jpg
Fun times in Cleveland again…

an uncomfortable state with 7 L water and 5 days of food pushing the load capacity of 35 lbs. I guess we over prepared for the 20 mile dry stretch to the next water source, but we’d rather be safe than sorry. As we walked, we quickly started noticing differences from our last thru-hike.

I’m sure I’ll write a more formal “Appalachian Trail vs. Pacific Crest Trail” article at a later date, but my mind can’t help but compare the two. So far, the most notable differences are the relaxed grade of the trail itself and the views, views, views. See for yourself…

20160507_121944.jpg

20160508_154855.jpg

20160508_144154.jpg

Over the first two days, we experienced a lot of cloud cover, some rain, and even a little hail which was a bit of a surprise when you’re expecting a full blown desert. But we’ve noticed a big change in weather and environment as we climb up and down the mountains.

20160507_081216.jpg
Loving the smell of desert sage.

While we are loving the steady grade of the trail and the beautiful views, the new challenges so far have been water and exposure. Since we began the trail seven days ago, we’ve already walked through two 20 mile stretches without water meaning we are carrying more water than was ever necessary on the AT.  We’re still figuring out exactly the right amount to carry. A good rule of thumb is 1 L per 4-5 miles of walking. With water weighing in at 2.2 lbs per liter, no one wants to carry too much. Of course, carrying too little could lead to emergency situations.

20160509_124010.jpg
Treating water from a source. With the help of some convenient jugs, we avoided the green stuff and got the clear water from the spigot.

Exposure is our second biggest challenge. While the lack of shade provides incredible views, the sun pours down on us heavily. Surprise, surprise it’s pretty freakin hot in the desert. But we came prepared in our delightfully nerdy outfits that mostly cover us from head to toe..

received_10102131891988434.jpeg

received_10102131891599214.jpeg
Loving my Hyperlite Mountain Gear pack!!

One of the biggest changes we made for this hike was going ultralight with our gear. It was definitely an inve$tment, but had been totally worth it so far. The physical difference a lightweight pack can make is incredible. (Check out our full gear list here.)

Despite some of the struggles, we are moving right along and are really feeling the groove of life on the trail once more. I guess I’ll just let the pictures tell the story this time. Bottom line, it’s beautiful, hot, sweaty, smelly, and really the only place I want to be.

Here’s to another 2550 miles on the PCT!

received_10102134328375894
Our home for the next 5 months.
20160510_142305
Loving the desert flora.
20160511_173638
Eagle Rock.
20160510_055515
Sunrise in the mountains.
20160509_171414.jpg
Beautiful blooms in the desert.
20160511_174545
This doesn’t get old.
20160511_122306
100 miles down, 2550 to go!!

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: