2005 PCT Journals:

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 Entry: 1 of a total 165 Date:April 17, 2005 Sunday
 GPS:32 39.698N 116 32.750W 2354ftMiles:14.00mi

It took about 3.5 hours to drive to the border from Palm Springs, but then all of a sudden we arrived... Another car was already there and an older fellow named Bob from Texas was being dropped off to begin his own PCT journey. As we lingered and ate some last minute "real food", one other car drove up. A girl named Lisa was also being dropped off. It was good to know that we are not the only ones starting this early.

(Border GPS: 32 35.374N 116 28.014W) We are not quite sure the exact miles that we went today, as we forgot to turn on the gps until we had stopped for the night - but we went quite a bit further then we had expected.

Mike (my dad) hiked with us for about a mile before turning back, just after the trail left Campo and headed across the highway. About a half-mile later we ran into Bob again. He had slipped off the trail and fallen directly into some poison oak. Not a very nice way to start out, but he got up, dusted off and seemed determined to go on. A bit further Lisa caught up to us and we ended up hiking with her most of the rest of the day. However, she is only has 30lbs in her pack and we had to push hard to keep up - this may have caused some damage to our feet - no blisters yet, but everything is raw.

Overall the land is beautiful, with lots of granite boulders, wild flowers and scrub oak, but there is also lots of poison oak. I have long pants and (so far) Sam seems unaffected. Lets hope it stays that way. The trail itself is kind of a pain. There is a lot more elevation gain then we expected and for the most part the tread is either sand or thick dust. The sand is ok, but the dust is hard on our feet and our lungs.


Toaster & Goodfoot

 


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 Entry: 2 of a total 165 Date:April 18, 2005 Monday
 GPS:32 43.235N 116 29.718W 3086ftMiles:9.49mi

A slow day... Last night we camped with Lisa near Hauser Creek. She seemed to want the company, however, in the morning we told her pack on without us as we had planned to take these first weeks slow. We thought that we might meet up with her at Morena Lake, but a thru-hiker named ‘OneGallon’ passed on the message that she was going to try to put in big miles in order to make it back to the kick off party. OneGallon also tried to convince us to come to the kick off, but we most likely wont. The pools waiting for us in Palm Springs sound more inviting.

The trail was a bit better today as the sandy, and hard-pack sections out numbered dusty ones. The day started out with a 1000ft climb to Morena Lake, and after eating lunch decided to keep it a short day because we pushed our feet yesterday. We eventually camped next to Cottonwood Creek just on the other side of State Highway 1. We felt good and could have pushed on, but didn’t want to dry camp. Even got a chance to wash the salt stains out of our socks and shirts! As I sit here writing this, some dark clouds are moving in from the west...


Toaster & Goodfoot

 


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 Entry: 3 of a total 165 Date:April 19, 2005 Tuesday
 GPS:32 45.859N 116 26.343W 4198ftMiles:7.83mi

It did end up raining last night, but all of our gear held up as planned. The only downside was that the socks I had hung out to dry were still very wet by the time we left camp. We also had a fizzy-liftum (emergency tm.) drink incident. The powdered drink that we brought had spilled inside the top pocket of Sam’s pack and made a sticky mess. This all made for another slow start.

Sam is in the third stage of blisters. For those of you playing at home: 1) Denial 2) Aggravation 3) Pain 4) Remorse 5) Acceptance. I am also having some foot trouble, but it seems manageable (or, maybe that is just stage one talking). Anyway, we have entered the foothills of the Laguna Mountains and it is just spectacular. There are now lots of wildflowers and every canyon has running water that I suspect will be dry in just a few short weeks. We even had to ford a broad creek part way through the day. We ended up camping next to a creek in Long Canyon, our last water for a bit.


Toaster & Goodfoot

 


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 Entry: 4 of a total 165 Date:April 20, 2005 Wednesday
 GPS:32 53.836N 116 25.801W 5881ftMiles:11.20mi

After getting our butts out of camp at a more reasonable time today, we gained a quicker pace. This was partly due to our feet (which still hurt, but we are better learning how to manage), yet also to the tread of the trail. Now in the heart of the Laguna Mountains, there are sections of duff covered trails through the meadows of pines and black oaks. All of the dead trees look like they have been shot up via a tommy gun, due to the abundance of woodpeckers. Later we found these big-ass pine cones scattered all over the trail. I took a picture of Sam with one the size of a football, but we soon found even bigger ones.

At the Burnt Ranchera campground we had to beg some construction workers to use their faucet. The rest of the campground was closed and the guidebook says that this may be our last water for the next 20 miles. Just before dark we choose to dry camp atop a ridge looking out over the desert. From here we can see the Sultan Sea. Some veteran PCTers told us today, that it might drop well below freezing tonight up here...


Toaster & Goodfoot

 


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 Entry: 5 of a total 165 Date:April 21, 2005 Thursday
 GPS:32 58.065N 116 30.536W 4866ftMiles:11.80mi

Last night was clear and very cold. In the morning, all of our food was frozen even though we had stayed very warm in the tent. After breakfast I went out to find a place to umm, well, dig a hole and stumbled across the skull and spine of a small horse or dear. This was our first dry camp in the desert, and I find bones - classic!

We are now on the other side of the Laguna Mountains, the dry side. All of the trees are gone and have been replaced by scrub brush. At least the trail is in good condition and, for the most part, flat or downhill. The guidebook says that there is little water to be found on this section, so at the Pioneer Mail Campground we filtered out of a horse trough. The water looked nasty, but we were happy to have it as we had run out about a mile before. Our water filter worked wonders.


Toaster & Goodfoot

 


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