PCT Update #1 - The Desert
2019-04-04, by Natalie Pendragonadventure backpacking pct
We've wended our way 110 miles northbound along the trail (out of 2650!). I'm writing this from a real bed, in a real room, with a real shower. Magical.
Magical, of course, because hiking the PCT is turning out to be a grueling endeavor. Especially at the beginning while paying your trail feet dues - I, along with most everyone I've talked to, has been dealing with their share of hot spots, blisters, sore arches, sore heels, and more. Also you're always hungry, your legs are always fatigued, and you're generally quite dirty.
But for all that, it's already proving to be an amazing, worthwhile experience. We're meeting fascinating people, seeing beautiful sunrises and sunsets most days, and walking through landscapes that often feel worthy of being on a fancy painting in someone's living room.
Day 1, mile 11
Time to embrace the desert. Andy and I took some snazzy pictures at the southern terminus and set off north.
The sun is really intense out here in the southern California desert, so I've put a lot of thought into how to protect myself from the sun well. I do not tan well! My plan is to use a shemagh most of the time when we're outside in the sun, along with sleeves and pants. Just need to stay cool! Here is what I look like, for the time being.
Day 2, mile 24
We came across a malt shop! And believe me, getting a midday malt during a desert hike is seriously great. We slept underneath a bridge overpass. It wasn't actually a campsite, and there wasn't anyone else camped there, but I think that's because the continuous rumble of traffic is something only a couple of New Yorkers are lulled to sleep by.
Day 4, mile 42
Short day of hiking to resupply in Mount Laguna, population 60. We rented a tiny house for the night, took a shower, and did laundry. Very refreshing!
Day 5, mile 60
Backpacks heavy with food and water for a long stretch, we make or way into the high desert at 6000ft. Our first 18 mile day, and my feet, legs, and back sure felt it.
Day 6, mile 77
Descended into the flatlands after another long dry day.
Day 7, Mile 92
Another dry day. Below is a photo of a water cache below a highway underpass. Local volunteers (aka Trail Angels) regularly restock the water cache in the tubs during dry season, and it's only though incredible acts of kindness such as this that certain dry sections of the trail are possible for us mere water-bound mortals.
Day 8, Mile 101
Triple digits!!!! There was even a nice little rock marker for mile 100 that someone had made alongside the trail. We hiked through a pretty cactus garden, but I got too close to one and it made me bleed.
Day 9, Mile 110
Town day!!! We reached Warner Springs shortly after discovering a petrified eagle (...that will make sense when you see the photo). Slightly bigger than our last stop at Mount Laguna, but wouldn't you know the ONE restaurant in town is closed on Tuesdays, our day of arrival? We went grocery shopping at a gas station... and shopped like reckless 15 year olds, because we burn 5000 calories a day now, and can eat essentially whatever we want...
Day 11, mile ???
We'll find out tomorrow! Andy and I can't wait to see what happens during the next couple hundred miles on trail.
Happy trails and until next time,