Saturday, April 21, 2012

21 April - Day 1

From the Southern Terminus of the PCT (Mile 0.0) to Lake Morena Campground (Mile 21).

Scout drove us from her home in San Diego to the Southern Terminus to begin the hike. There were five of us in the van, and we were jabbering a million miles an hour, we were so excited to be on the way!

Frodo took photos of us at the terminus. Here we are:

From left to right: Thomas from Berlin (whose trail name will become Rattlebee), Charles (who will become Pan), Chris (who will become Dionysus), Alex (a veteran of the Appalachian Trail), and Seano (who will be Seano).

That's the border fence running into the distance with a dirt road beside it for the Border Patrol. That's Frodo's van parked in the dirt parking area behind us. [Photo courtesy of Rattlebee].

After reaching through the barrier fence and grabbing a handful of Mexico -- and after Sean led us in a short ritual to leave grief and bitterness behind us as we begin this amazing trek, we headed out through beautiful blooming chaparral. And lo! There's sweet water to be had! We see chamise, ribbonwood, manzanita, scrub oak, some toyon, etc (all the usual suspects in the chaparral). They are a marvel to me.


Chris and Alex on the trail. The chaparral hills are a green delight for us. Later in the summer, much of this burned.

Thomas, Chris, and Alex taking the shade for a bit. Look how green!

I can tell my feet are in trouble -- so I bathe them in water whenever I can, like Yogi said to do.


We first get to use our reflective ultralite umbrellas. They make a difference!

Lake Morena, our destination! That's our trail, the PCT, on the right of the pic
Temps in the 90°s. Despite best efforts my feet are starting to roast. The track is hotter than the Rockies. Chris & Sean are better, though Sean has contact dermititis like blazes ... but no itch.

Sean, Chris, and I walk past a beehive in the rock wall -- and they pile out and harry us. We run!

We get into camp pretty exhausted -- the camp is full of weekend campers, trailers, etc. -- and I walk on my blistered feet another mile to a convenience store to buy ice cream. A gallon. Three spoons. Sean, Chris, and I ate it all as an hors d'oevre.

Thomas arrives later, after dark -- and we were worried about him. He had a misadventure -- walking past the same beehive, he got stung several times. Swatting the bees away, he knocked off his glasses -- but couldn't look for them for all the bees. He ran from the bees down the trail and nearly stepped on a rattler that curled up and buzzed like crazy. Bees & rattlers from two directions -- Thomas climbed up a rock and waited it out awhile. This is how he got the trail name "Rattlebee."

I made some dinner for Thomas, and Christo gave him some tequila for his stings. "Tequila?" Thomas asked. "Chris is a sort of Dionysus."

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