- Campo, CA to Lake Morena Campground
Mile 0 – Mile 20.4
“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.
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!
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.
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.
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.