This is it...my 44th birthday and our start of the Pacific Crest Trail. We spent last night in El Cajon not far from the bus station where we needed to catch the bus to Campo where the southern terminus of the PCT is. We got to the station and there were 5 other thru-hikers waiting for the bus as well...no, we are not the only crazy ones out here! After a 2 hour bus ride and a 1.5 mile road walk we made it to the official start of the trail.
Anyway, we left the terminus and began our hike north right at 11 am. This seemed fine since we planned on hiking only 10 miles today which should only take us 3-4 hours...right? Well, not so right. First, we are carrying 6 liters of water each since our next water supply isn't for 20 miles (2 days hike). Water weighs 2.2 pounds per liter, so we are each carrying over 13 pounds of water. Second, the terrain is not what I was expecting. I expected a nice flat easy walk through the desert, not the ups and downs through high desert hills we experienced. Third, the weather today was sunny and then rainy and then it hailed and then it did it all again all day long. Fourth, you can't just stop wherever you want to camp. This trail is narrow and hilly with no flat camping area. We had to go an extra mile to get to a campsite designated on the map. Add this to the 1.5 mile walk to the start and our 10 miles that we wanted to hike today turned into 12.5 miles.
We made it to camp at around 6:30 giving us 1 hour before sunset. Tent pitched well, dinner was yummy (Knorr Pasta Alfredo with salmon), and then the sun set and temperature keeps dropping. I guess it is supposed to be around 34 degrees tonight...in the desert! This cold weather just means we get to jump in our warm sleeping bags earlier and get a bit more sleep.
Oh yeah. One more cool thing we saw today. Check out the picture below. What we call a "trail angel" put out some water we can use to replenish what we had already drank. These trail angels are awesome people, but more about them another time. I keeps getting colder so I need to go to sleep.