Monday, February 16, 2015

PCT Kickoff!

I have started my section hike of the Pacific Crest Trail!
My goal is to eventually hike the entire 2650 miles in order.  I don't have a ending date in mind but the sooner the better.  My basic plan is to do the southern California sections (A-F) in long weekends (3-4 days).  As I get farther north, the trips will get longer and longer.
My wife was cool enough to drive me out there on Saturday morning.  We dropped my car off at Desert View Picnic Area in the Lagunas and we both drove to the border.  Getting there was easier than I thought as it very close to Campo.  There was another hiker already there being dropped off and he started hiking while we checked out the monument.  After some pix I soon took off.  It was fast going in the nice weather and level terrain.  In about a couple miles, I caught up to the hiker that left before me.  His name was Tim and he is doing two weeks on trail which should get him up past Big Bear.  Hopefully he doesn't get hit by any weather.  I continued trucking along weaving my way among private lands, roads and open country. At about the halfway mark (10 miles) I took my lunch break and talked with hikers Josh and Jason.  Soon after lunch, I got to Hauser Canyon.  The first part is a steep path heading down and then an equally steep trail heading back out. The canyon was hot and pretty ugly so this was my least favorite section of trail so far.  After Hauser Canyon, it was a few miles of rolling terrain until dropping down in Lake Moreno.  I checked into the hiker site then walked to the store for some coffee and chocolate. I had a light dinner then chatted with Tim before going to bed early.  Thankfully generators are not allowed at Lake Moreno, but I tried my earplugs and they worked great.  I did miss the sounds of the wilderness though.
The next morning I woke up around 6 and was on the trail at 6:30.  It was pretty chilly but only my hands were cold as I started out.  The trail to Boulder Oaks was pretty nice and might be a good one for the scouts.  The next 10 miles were hot and not very interesting, especially since I had hiked much of it before.  It got noticeably nicer once I hit the pines of the Lagunas.  I arrived at the parking lot around 3pm.  I did a total of 42.6 trail miles this segment.
One of my goals for these first trips is to get a handle on my blister situation.  I am working on various shoe/sock/tape/break combinations to see what gives the best results.  For this trip, I am using my waterproof hiking shoes (Merrell Moab WP low cut) with nylon liners and my wicking thin socks.  I also was going to try boots-off breaks during the day to air dry my feet.  That system worked pretty well.  I did get blisters on the balls of my feet between my big and second toes on each foot.  But they weren't too bad and didn't slow me down.  I think in the future, I will try more boots-off breaks.  Also, my next set of hiking shoes will not be waterproof so they are more breathable.
Next up is the rest of section A, Lagunas to Warner Springs (~67 miles).

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