Working out the kinks... Our photography and communication capabilities have been crippled by poor preparation and shoddy gear...
Resist the temptation to be competitive on the trail. You need to hike your own hike. We find ourselves pushing for the extra miles when we really don't need to. From now on we are keeping to a 50/10 rule with 50 minutes of walking with a 10 minute break in addition to a 45 min lunch.
Do not take advice from those Bear Gryllis wannabes that tell you they almost died within the first 20 miles... Though this may seem like common sense, many seemed quite interested in his "trail wisdom...."
Take care of your feet. We have been doing this, but many haven't. Blisters abound!
Carry the water. We have been carrying at least 3 liters each and it has paid off. Many have had to travel far off the trail to reach a water source because they decided their pack was too heavy with a third liter.
Our first day was spent traveling from San Diego to Campo by bus. We arrived in Campo around 5pm and headed straight to the southern monument.
After signing the log book and a few photos we hit our first few miles of trail. We camped at mile 4 in a small meadow with about 6 other hikers. The following day we put 16 miles behind us, arriving at Lake Morena.
We paid $5 to camp in the hike and bike section of the campground. The lake was low, but our site was beautiful, and overlooked the lake, with mountains in the distance. Wild turkeys were abundant, as were lake bros. Katie and I set up shop and proceeded to the local restaurant/mini-mart for a burger and beer.
The sun came up over the mountains just beyond the lake. Steam rose from the distant water; we took a moment to soak in the view and then kicked rocks.
We were thinking of hiking a 15-16 mile day but ended up hiking a twenty... this became a reoccurring theme for the next three days. We pushed ourselves, excited to see what lies beyond the next bend. Doing this when your body is not ready is bad (duhh)... We know this; still, it is hard to stop making miles when there is plenty of light left in the day.
The desert is far more beautiful than we thought it would be. Jagged red and white mountains colored yellow by flowers tower over equally yellow valleys. Have you ever seen a cactus blossom?! Wow!!! Many pictures to come, unfortunately they are all on the GoPro... Our phone died early on day two. We will be making sure that we take plenty of photos with the phone in the future.
After a very fast hitch into Julian (the very first truck that approached), we grabbed a hot meal, a beer, and a few other nessesities from the store. We had hoped to grab a room in a cheap motel but there was no such thing.... Julian is a pretty fancy town known for its apple cider, apple pie, apple beers etc. Every room was booked on a Tuesday so we thumbed our way out to an rv park called Stagecoach which lets pct hikers stay for 8 bucks a night, showers included.
We took a zero day today; we need the rest. It's a two day hike to Warner Springs where we will post more photos of the desert bloom!