It is 7 pm and we three are in our tents, Harry flying solo tonight and phoebe and I (meg) bunking in together. Our first day is complete. It is a mixture of excitement, anticipation and relief.
Last night was spent at Bob’s house. Perched up in the San Diego hills Bob takes in hikers during the summer months purely out of good will. He collected us from down town in the afternoon, after a morning of finalising some last minute prehike stuff. While we waited for him tiny humming birds flew around the tree planted into the pavement. We spent the evening on our balcony over looking San Diego, it’s surrounding mountains and those running into Mexico. Trial angels are a real thing, and their kindness should not be underestimated. We are a few of hundreds who will be welcomed into Bob’s home during 2017. On waking this morning at 4 am, for a 5 am departure to Campo and the beginning of the trail Bob had coffee, bagels and good cheer. He drove us an hour to the beginning of the trail, took a group shot of us and headed on his way.
And then, there we were. On the boarder….I didn’t know there was already a fence, board patrol cars cruising around and the sound of helicopters in the distance. The monument was a simple collection of posts, with a log book. As the sun began to rise we set off along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Our packs were laden with water, lots of it, we didn’t know when we would next have access to some and so we laboured under our loads. Initially, the track skirts around Campo, and heads up into granite boulder hills. The trees and shrubbery are small and stunted due to the harsh arid conditions. At times the track would go through burnt areas, and it looked other worldly. All sandy soil, burnt, charred trees and in the distance these ranges that feel expansive and lonely. We would stop off along the way for water and snacks in shadowy corners, and spent lunch under the cover of a tree and boulder. Here we slept for an hour or so in the heat of the day and continued along another 6 miles to our evening spot a Hauser Creek. Today we have walked 24 kms.
There are a range of people walking the track. So far we have met Germans, Canadians, English, and Americans. People always ask were we are from and I am astonished they can’t pick the accent. There is a nice level of comaradery. I am particularly intrigued as to why people are here. The answer is always similar to mine, simply just because, there isn’t really any reason. One man saved up 40 years of holidays to take the 6 months off. We also met a real life cowboy, he had a mustang and a collie dog. He wore the whole cowboy out fit and was doing the trail with the help of his girlfriend and mum. Just after meeting him I got stung in the face by an angry bee.
The track is easy somewhat, the gradient is always gentle and it’s well maintained. Vultures circle overhead, we occasionally see lizards, phoebe saw a horny devil (which she was really hoping) and a good number of creeks trickle across our path. We don’t know the names of anything so we have decided to make some up. This is especially helpful for the plants. So far we have Furry Dong and Asparagus Plant. It is beautiful in its own way. A land which appears ancient, and home to many stories.