We flew bright and early from Colorado to California. Our backpacks were fully packed and in duffel bags. Chris's dad Scott drove us to the airport (thanks, Scott!)
At the San Diego airport, we met up with Thomas from Berlin (whose name later on the trail would be "Rattlebee") and liked him immediately. We yacked together enthusiastically until Jan, a wonderful trail angel, came and picked us up in her van.
She whisked us off to the home of Frodo & Scout -- where we got lots of logistical care, and we were immediately taken into the logistical care. Frodo and Jan were taking care of most everyone -- Scout was away, so we didn't get to meet him until later in our travels.
Wow, what deeply caring & dedicated people. Their home is set up as multifaceted hostel & transport hub facilitating every aspect of getting hikers from all over the world ready for their amazing adventure by seeing to it they are fed, equipped, informed, updated, registered - & then transported to REI or Von's or shown the way to the post office - and then to the Southern Terminus of the PCT.
The garage has shipping boxes, Ziplocks, tape, scales, and stacks of packages sent by hikers who will arrive any day now.
The backyard has a large flat lawn for tents, plus out front a tent trailer provides beds ... And there's even a treehouse in the strangler fig out back. Bedrooms, couches, - wherever space can be found. Beautiful home with a huge PCT banner over the front door.
Frodo & Scout have the assistance of warm & welcoming friends like Jan and her husband, and of volunteers like Tristan. A labor of love by folks dedicated to helping people realize a mammoth dream - and tackle what will likely be the most difficult, painful, beautiful, and transformative endeavor these hikers have yet engaged.
We were frankly in awe at such a selfless gracious open-handed spirit in action.
Thomas, and we three headed off to the grocery store to get supplies ~ and we mailed our bounce box ahead to await us with materials we didn't need to lug on our back (maps, some warmer clothes, etc.)
The table was full with 15 tonight (other thru-hikers and friends headed out for pizza elsewhere) – and laughter, stories, wine & song accompanied the lavish meal cooked by Frodo and Jan.
As we headed to our tents, the house hummed with the eager conversations of not only US hikers, but of Germans (Nuray and Thomas), Kiwis (Peter and Hamish), and Brits, as well.
Our adventure has begun at an oasis of hospitality and empowerment.