Day 1- Pluck and Circumstance

  • Campo, CA to Lake Morena Campground
    Mile 0 – Mile 20.4
Scout holding the camera that filmed the first thru ride of the PCT on horseback in 1959

“It’s your turn” smiles Barney ‘Scout’ Mann, the twinkle in his bright, blie eyes conveying all his passion and dedication to the PCT. He wasn’t directing me to the delicious breakfast spread that he and Frodo had prepared for the group of 21 that stayed with them last night. He was saying today is the start of my hike. You can get a full appreciation of his enthuiasm and trail knowledge from the stunning coffee table book he co-authored called, what else, The Pacific Crest Trail.
Our group today joined the almost 900(!) folks that will pass through Scout and Frido’s door this year. I met people from Sydney, the UK, Germany, Hong Kong, Canada, New Hampshire, Florida, North Carolina, and Vermont. They come from all walks of life, age, gender, circumstances, and experience levels but all share the inner drive to set forth on the PCT this year.

Breakfast at 5:30am

A fleet of vehicles swung through the sleeping neighborhood at 6am. Packs were loaded, goodbyes and thank yous said, and within an hour we unloaded at the southern terminus of the PCT!

Class Of 2017- May 9th departure

You have to understand that I’ve been reading about and seeing pictures of the monument there for years. To finally arrive in person was in a word, surreal. We showed our permits, snapped some photos, and then all the nervous energy was unleashed on the trail.

Southern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail

The day was cool and overcast but the sun broke through just as I departed the border. I all but floated through the first mile fussing with straps and gear and trying not let my excitement get the better of me.

Obligatory photograph

The clouds made the day close to ideal for the ups and downs. Doing the same 20 miles umder a hot sun would have made things much harder. The trail wound through rocky terrain, dry chaparral and desert blooms. Beautiful!


I am now warm in my tent happy about my first day. I would not say today was easy but to paraphrase Nietzsche , I’m not dead so I must be stronger. I will point out that the first rank within the Boy Scouts is aptly named Tenderfoot.

9 Replies to “Day 1- Pluck and Circumstance”

  1. Alrighty then… 20 miles in 8.5 hours is a pretty awesome pace brother! Nice work! Keep the posts coming…


    1. Hey Dean, I plan to write each day but getting it posted will depend on connectivity. Glad to have you along and thanks!


  2. Does sound like a good day. The adrenaline must be over the top! Beautiful pictures 😀
    Thanks for the update, thought about you all day!


  3. Good Luck John! I admire you for setting off on this adventure. I’ve read a lot about the trail and it’ll be fun to read about your experiences.
    -cousin Heidi


  4. Caaards! You will miss my 50th, oh well, you are on a greater quest. You will be missed. Let’s hope I make it to 60.


    1. I’m missing Brad’s 50th too. Dang, this trip is getting more expensive. Happy Birthday in advance. It turns out 50 is pretty great!


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