First Camp

PCT 2012, Day 1 -- 5/1/12

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From Waterbed to Sleeping Bag

Wow. What a day. Carol (my wife) got up at 5:30 and drove to Long Beach with all my stuff. From there, John Hapgood drove me to Idlywild. I started hiking from Humber Park at about 10:30. It was a 2.5 mile, 2500 foot climb from there to rejoin the PCT at the spot that I quit the trail in 2005 -- 7 years ago!

I must be in much better shape than then because the climb went quickly without too much pain. I made it before noon. Then a short break for lunch. On my way by 12:15.

The worry for today is snow. In 2005 the snow was knee deep everywhere making it almost impossible to hike without the right equipment. Today very little snow, or so I first thought. As we kept going up, snow covered the trail. Making it hard to find our way. And the hiking was exhausting.

Along the way I met three other PCTers: Sweep and Hatchet Jack, and Lowell. Sweep, a guy, and Jack, a girl both have grand kids and have both done huge parts of the trail. So we had lots in common. Oh, and their spouses stay home while they hike--we have that in common too.

Anyway, we teamed up to face the snow. We made it past Fuller Ridge--which was closed in 2005. I am pretty happy with this, but I am totally wiped out. Lots of cramps while setting up camp and cooking dinner. I may be in better shape than 7 years ago, but not anywhere close to where I was after the Sierras last year.

After we cleared the top of Fuller ridge, I selected the first suitable place to camp. It's at 8500 feet, and the wind is ferocious. The wind is really, really loud in the trees. And it is cold.

But I am warm in my bag and very tired.

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My stuff.
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Waiting for my ride to the trail.
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The first few feet of the trail after I get to the PCT junction.
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Snow walking.
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More Snow.
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Snow with one of my new friends helping to find the way.
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View of the desert to the North of Mt. San Jacinto.
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My first camp.