Pacific Crest Trail
Week 1 heading to Warner Springs(
APRIL 17, 2014 /
The alarm screamed get up, get up get up. It had just gone four am , Bob wanted
to leave at 5 am
I emerged like a zombie got dressed grabbed my pack
It was soon loaded into the back of Bob’s car, I checked everything one last time.
have I got enough water? I strapped myself in and we are on our way.
Let the adventure began. It was about an hour’s drive to the starting point, no turning back, this is it.
We arrived at about 5.54 just as it began to get light, we posed for the obligatorily photos by the monument before grabbing our gear from the car
How much water should I carry as my pack weighed a ton and there was stuff hanging off it, not a good look
Okay one last check, I decided to take four litres of water a decision
It was now time to walk
At 6 am we said our goodbyes to Bob, and the three of us set off together Hendrik, Kevin, and me
It was a cool morning as we began our hike , the trail meandering off into the distance. We soon came to the 1-mile marker , not quite sure why this mile marker made me so excited but it did. Maybe because I was actually here hiking the PCT
Once past the marker the trail began to climb and climb
Lesson 1 have a light pack
Lesson 2 do not carry too much food.
Lesson 3 carry more water.
By now Hendrik was pulling away. he was almost running!!
Kevin stayed with me, but I felt that I was holding him back
“Don’t wait for me Kevin” I said
“You going to be Okay “
“I’ll be fine, see you up the trail”
Kevin waved goodbye and he too was soon out of sight. I plodded on and soon begin to say those immortal words
“what the fuck am I doing OMG what have I done I can’t do this FUCK.
By mile 7 I was shattered, the heat was intense, and my pack was so heavy . I took a break and a bit of a nap. I was finding that every 30 minutes I was needing a rest. Then omg by mile 9 my water bladder was empty leaving me with under a litre. I may be in trouble!!
I had wanted to start the hike with 6 litres. But Bob the trail angel said you will be fine with four, there is a saying on the trail. “Hike your own hike “so another lesson learnt! I should have taken more water but then water is heavy another thing you soon learn.
Luckily, some fellow hikers stopped and helped me out by giving me a bottle of Gatorade and a huge swig of water. I set off again , keeping an eye on my dwindling water.
I’m resting again at mile 12 when two fellow hikers stopped and gave me 1/2 a litre each thank you so much guys
I looked across the valley and could see the switchbacks that zig zagged up the other side of the mountain OMG I said again to myself before setting off down towards Hawsers Creek
I arrived at Hawsers creek at 6 pm
Omg there was a water cache here, thank your god and the people who put this here
I grabbed a 4-litres bottle and glugged down the precious liquid, until I could drink no more
I had arrived at Hawsers Creek battered and bruised but I had completed my first day on the PCT
I quickly found a flat spot and put up my ten, there was another couple already here their trail name was CNC a hiking couple. I chatted to them as I made hot chocolate before cooking my dinner of mac cheese. I tidied up got into my tent I was asleep just after the 3rd helicopter sweep Zzzzz
Day 2 Boulder Oaks 10 miles
April 18th, 2014
After two low flying helicopters I was soon fast asleep last night. I woke at 7 am CNC were already packed and ready to leave I ate Pop tarts for breakfast whilst chatting to CNC trying to gleam as much info and tips from them before they headed out.
I shortly followed; the first part was a two-mile climb that takes me to Lake Moreno. (yesterday’s Target) God it was hot and steep, I was unable to get any speed , especially lugging my huge pack, then disaster my water bladder is empty?
Did it leak in the night, I didn’t check it this morning, dam another mistake, am I going to have enough water? I decided to push on and not to stop until I got to the top.
I pushed on the sun blazing down. Until at last I was there. I needed a rest and took the opportunity to check my water bladder. Doh!! You arse, I had put the bladder in upside-down, so I was just sucking air, thank god
Several hours later the lake came into view ,it looked gorgeous, at last I dropped down into the campsite
I wandered around the vast campsite that was dotted with HUGE trailers, Winnebago’s, and ones that I came to know as fifth wheel. Wow the Americans really know how to do leisure. Some had 50” TVs that were mounted outside. I wandered around the huge campsite until I found myself a picnic bench in the shade
I found the perfect spot to take lunch with a spigot nearby so took the opportunity
to rinse out my stinky clothes and then dry them in the sun as I relaxed and rested
Time to hike, but I am still knackered , is it the heat or my pack, what happen to all my training?
After 5 more miles , I arrived at Boulder Oaks, the campsite was deserted. Water I need water. I walked to a tap and thank god water poured from it so I decide that this will do me for today. I found a flat spot for my tent and was setting up Ryan passed by.
Okay its only 10 miles today , but I am reasonably happy. I cooked my supper then Zzzzz
Day 3 mount Laguna
April 19th, 2014
I slept so well at Boulders oak, due to exhaustion so did not wake until 7am
When I emerged, I noticed another hiker named Bison was also camped here, but by the time I had broken camp he was gone. I must get more organised. I refilled my water ate breakfast then back to the trail. I do not have any mileage in mind I would just walk and see where I get to.
The trail started in a wooded area which was cool and easy on my feet, before beginning it is normal climb, later in the day I caught Bison and we began swapping miles.
By lunchtime I was struggling and began to look for some shade to take a nap which seemed like a good technique to help me cope.
When back on the trail I was passed by an English guy who had hiked the AT trail he gave me lots of good advice, most I already knew but it was good to hear it again.
He tried to encourage me to push myself and get to Mount Laguna, but the heat and with this bloody heavy pack I was struggling. He towed me along for a while, but he was too fast and so I soon needed another break. But I fought it and plodded on
I then met Eric, Eric had a good pace that I was able to match and as we chatted the miles fell away. Soon we were approaching Mount Laguna, but then I began to run out of energy so let Eric go as my pace slowed to a trudge.
At last the campsite came into view, it said closed but I just didn’t care I wandered through the campsite until I came to a water tap, I filled up with water, before wandering on through the deserted park before running into Eric who was sat at a picnic bench.
I was so exhausted so set my pack down by his. Eric was beginning to cook dinner, I plonked myself down on the bench and fired up my new stove and soon my supper was cooking after I had scoffed my supper, I quickly pitched camp and headed to bed. Eric decided to take a walk into town, but I was done, Eric seems to be like the Duracell Bunny he just keeps on going 15 miles today I’m pleased with that.
Tomorrow I hope to get shake down of my kit and get the weight reduced by Dave at the store. Night all Zzzzz
Day 4 shake down
April 20th, 2014
Another good sleep and as the shop did not open until 10am I had a lie in yeah.
I lazily made breakfast before slowly packing up
As I headed for the store, I threw my roll of Tyvek away and my camp shoes in the nearest bin, (Both rash decisions that I would regret)
At last I met Dave; he weighed my pack then instructed me to make several piles of gear.
What I needed, luxury items and nice to have. I reluctantly put my unwanted gear into the hiker box. I thought my shakedown was going to be a quick affair but several hours later I was still here, as Dave served other customers
Eric also decided to get a shake down. I watched the time tick by, several hours later and a few hundred Dollars lighter I had swapped my pack, my sleeping bag, my stove, and my water filter.
That lost me 16 lb phew and it felt so good BIG SMILEY FACE
All of my spare and unwanted kit I boxed up and posted to Shrek’s Place, miles up the trail at Cascade Locks in Oregon, I just hope I make it there, I kept looking at my new heavy fleece that cost me a fortune, I should have boxed that up too, but instead I reluctantly put this expensive item in the Hiker box because I just can’t carry it.
In the shake down I discarded several bits is of kit that in hindsight I should have kept or at least posted up the trail too, I am learning the hard way and slowly. At last I was done. It had seemed that I had been here all day, so not going to do many miles this afternoon. I set off after saying goodbye to Eric who was still sorting his gear.
The sun was warm in the early afternoon as I made my way up the road looking for the trailhead it was only going to be a short afternoon due to the late start but my pack felt much better, the trail was kind and I put in good miles helped with the dramatic weight loss.
I soon came to a small campsite; I was in too minds whether to stop or go on but decided to stop and put in a better day tomorrow.
There were several hikers here already and the luxury of a drop toilet and even better trail magic, a water cache. I filled up then put up my tent and cooked supper
There was a hiker here called “Trail-Dancer” who was sleeping in a hammock, I was impressed with that
Day 5 My first 20 Miler
APRIL 21, 2014
I woke to an empty campsite, I topped up with water and was on the trail by 7 am
(Still not early as most hikers) My pack feels so much better and I was able to crush some early miles and wow what fantastic scenery.
I was enjoying the trail today apart from the sun, fuck its hot and no shade at all, luckily the climbs were not too steep
Oh, fantastic another water cache. I was just filling up when Eric appears, we have been swapping miles for the last two days
He’s fitter and faster than me and so was soon in the distance. The trail then came to an energy sapping climb and in the heat unbearable for me. Once at the top there were several hikers sheltering from the sun, so I joined them and had an hour sleep as the sun was melting!!
Before I flew out, I had made several spread sheets about resupplying , But you
quickly learn that hiking the PCT especially the first section is getting from water to water . So once again I am off heading for the next water source. I arrived around 6 refilled and then rested in the shade .There were about a dozen other hikers here some resting some cooking then CNC arrived. This was the couple that I camped with on day one. It was good to see them.
After they refilled their water they headed off. I thought I could do a few more miles, so set off too, but I am not yet in the groove as I have not really grasped my maps so typically the trail was steep. Nowhere to put a tent, I was done but needed to find a flat spot so had to carry on . I climbed a few more hills just looking for somewhere to camp.
Hurrah I said to myself as I began to see a few tents and one I recognised as CNC’s they saw me and invited me over. I did not hesitate , quickly drooped my pack before setting up my tent. I joined them for dinner , they are far more experienced than me and gave me valuable advice. This was a great spot with great views of the next valley
Day 6 Scissors Crossing
APRIL 22, 2014
I woke on top of a mountain, with totally amazing views. I am slow at starting but was out of my tent by 6am, but once packed up and breakfast eaten it was 7.30. CNC who I camped with last night had long gone. My aim this morning was to get to scissors crossing then hopefully start the climb before it gets too hot. I made good progress and arrived at 10 am. I was pleased to see CNC were still here. I was refilling my water when Eric strolled in he had hitched to another town yesterday to get hold of more fuel as he had managed to leave his at the Laguna Store .I was looking forward to some trail magic here as I had heard of people cooking your burgers, sodas and beer, but I was more than happy with water. So, once I was watered up, I set off for the big climb. Luckily today there was a cool breeze and it was slightly overcast as normally hikers struggle with this climb due to the heat
As the trail winds it is way up the mountains the scenery becomes breathtakingly beautiful, cacti in bloom reds, pinks and yellows, Up and up I go higher and higher after about four hours climbing, I stop for lunch and a snooze. God the hills just sap my energy and it is hot even with the wind.
I pass by several people who were dry camping (camping not near to water). The next water source is 20 miles .I felt good so pressed on, but with the trail you never know what is coming next, I should have guessed that it would be more climbing. As I’m puffing up another climb Eric appears , which is good as he tends to pull me along.
Hurrah I reach a sign that says 1 mile to go for water, thank god I say to myself; I’m beginning to fall behind. But I am not bothered as I need water..
Now if there is a sign saying water 1 mile then it should be 1 mile, but no !! there is now another sign that says water 1/3 mile and it is downhill and off trail.
I am exhausted as I wander down this trail heading to water. As I walk down this track, I can see that several hikers have made camp by the side of the trail, which seems a good idea.
At last I can see the water, there are boxes of water piled high. I gulp down several pints before topping up my bottles. I’m exhausted and my feet are in need attention. So, I decide to camp nearby. Tent up and another 20 miles done. Whoop
Thanks whoever maintains this water cache tomorrow
Day 7 Warner Springs
April 23rd, 2014
I was so looking forward to a good night’s sleep, but the weather had a different idea.
I was. Woken at 2am by a huge centipede crawling over my face, how the fuck did you get into my tent. I scooped the beast up and threw him out. 1-2-3 and relax and I was soon back to sleep. But no, the wind arrived, I was worried my tent would be ripped to bit, it was so scary, the wind was relentless ,ponding and pulling my tent until I must have dozed off.
I woke exhausted but amazed to see that my tent was still above me. I quickly made breakfast and hit the trail by 7.30. The trail started with a few climbs but my feet seemed heavy, but after an hour I was soon in my stride .Later I was joined by another hiker whose name was Bambi, he hiked in a kilt he hiked on together and soon cruised past the 100 mile point whoop hurrah. The next water was at Barrel Springs where I would stop for foot check and sock change and a well-deserved rest after this it will be on to Warner Springs
As I walked, I was just amazed at the countryside, wide open fields that stretched for miles, then through luscious woodland, as we marched down the path, I noticed warning signs on the trees warning of poison oak. That is good as I had not a clue what it looked like. Well there is a big difference in seeing the picture in a book and in real life. At last we cruised into Barrel springs this was my rest, refill, and foot check. Bambi wanted to get a move on, so I waved him goodbye.
Here in the clearing was a large concrete trough that was filled from a spring, sometimes trail angels leave Soda and beer in here but sadly I was out of luck
I soon dropped my pack, boots and socks off , lunch and relax .Then it was a quick check of my feet new plasters on my blisters , and a check over on the hot spots before I was back on the trail
Hurrah , Warner Springs whoop another 20 miles completed There was a lot of activity here a small tented town, I found a patch and put up my tent .
Once settled I went to explore there were showers, you can’t laundry done and a small resupply and café . Sadly, I am too late for that too. So, relax with other smelly hikers and enjoy the last of the sunshine, Eric is also here so I chat with him and other hikers. To my right are several baseball courts so I watch a few of the kids practicing before my eyes decide that it is bedtime