Mile 110

So i’ve been hiking for just shy of 110 miles (176 km), and all within a week!

My first day I hiked from Campo to Lake Morena, below is a photo of me at the Southern Terminus. This was taken at around 6am after Robert Reiss graciously lifted me from San Diego to Campo, around an hours journey! A true trail Angel.

The first day i hiked about 20 miles. I wanted to avoid Border Patrol and since I was feeling good after having a nap at Hauser Creek (Mile 15), I hiked on to Lake Morena where I camped with 2 other PCT hopefuls.

The second morning was really cold. I woke up to a layer of frost on my tent. Since then I’ve slept with my sleeping bag as a blanket as it normally gets too warm.

Here's me after Lake Morena (Mile 21) at 6:41 am

The second day took me 9 miles on flattish land until I had another large mountain to climb, over the next 10 miles I climbed up towards Mount Laguna. It was hotter than the previous day, and I almost ran out of water. Luckily I came across a stream at mile 32. There I hung out with Niko, Liane and Jules, some friends I’d made earlier in the day, while I chilled in the shade and recovered from a slight bit of dehydration. That night I hiked on to mile 38 where i set up camp. Pictured below is where I slept on my 2nd night. I also lit my first fire, which is really good, and cooked pasta and sauce with Salami over the fire. Mmmm!

The following morning I hiked up and around the Mount Laguna town, which i didn’t see much of at all. In the forest I got to see some fresh Mountain Lion prints! These were pretty awesome and huge, it must have been a fully grown one. I followed this forest across the side of the mountains for about 6 miles, until it opened up and I had a spectacular view out over the desert 3000 feet below. I got to hug the cliff faces which fell straight down, and extended into the flat arid landscape that I would come to experience 2 days later.

That night was spent at mile 56, pictured below is the campsite I found in amongst boulders, the 3 friends earlier were able to join me. I also sorted out my gear, and as you can see everything was a mess. I got to view the stars properly for the first time, and was able to spot Orion’s Belt, but I wasn’t able to identify the North Star. Maybe i’ll cross paths with someone who can show me.

 
Here's where i spent the first night, i also sorted through my bag.

The following morning took me further along the back of the Mount Laguna mountains, and out the back. I spent that night at mile 73 on a ridge. I had a campsite overlooking the valley that I would cross in the morning, and the San Felipe Hills that I would navigate the length of. The one thing about the PCT is, it doesn’t take the steep route, it doesn’t take the easy route, but it definitely takes the longest most windy route! At least I’m slowly making my way north.

The following morning I hopped the 4 miles across to the base of the hills where I also found a huge water cache. I was able to top up to about 4 liters of water. I thought I was being good at being careful and not taking too much water. How I would come to regret that later!

Below is a photo of the PCT and its windy ascent of the San Felipe Hills. At least the one smart decision was that I started in the morning.

Here's the path that gently travels up and contours along the San Felipe Hills. Scissors crossing can be seen in the distance on the right

That day effected me the most on a mental level. I was low on water, slightly burnt and decided to set up camp early in the day. I got really freaked out because of my water situation, even though I was only 6.5 miles away from a huge water cache. I psyched myself out so much, I had to get moving. I sent some emails off to Kristin and Dan, hoping they’d reply shortly. At about 18:30 I stripped camp and hiked about 1.5 miles to a really nice campsite where 2 others had camped. The extra walk and the fact I was near company, settled my mind and i was able to have a good nights rest. This was by far the most mentally taxing section. The PCT hasn’t been so physical as mental. I have hit wall after wall after wall of mental boundaries that I’ve luckily been able to push through.

The following morning I pushed the final 5.5 miles to the 3rd gate water cache. It was huge, as you can see below. I took about 4L to make sure that I had enough for the rest of the day. That day, yesterday, took me past the 100 mile mark, it was such a mental boost. To have hiked 100 miles and only 25.6x more!


The final miles of the day yesterday took me through a quaint meadow! To have walked in extreme desert and be hpyerthermic (probably), to be hiking next to cows in the space of 30 hours. It brings a new meaning to a ‘rain shadow’.

This morning I woke up to pouring rain! It was expected, but I hadn’t expected it be so wet and damp. This morning I hiked the last 5 miles to Warner Springs, and arrived at their community center. This place is amazing, I’ve had a hot breakfast, been able to charge my devices, and have been drinking cup after cup of coffee.

I’ll probably only hike about 5 more miles today, but my next goal is paradise cafe which is 40 miles from here at mile 151. I’ll try update you all as soon as I can, but my blog update via my kindle is not ideal, and does not work in some respects.

8 Comments

  • Lauren

    April 12, 2012

    Thanks for the news, it’s interesting to hear of your progress and we look forward to following you further!

  • Stuart

    April 13, 2012

    Steve,
    I so enjoyed reading your post! This is an amazing adventure, 110 miles is MASSIVE, I still cannot get my head around the full distance of this trail. Well, we are routing for you and will keep reading your progress. God bless in those future times of mental obstacle!

  • Daniel

    April 13, 2012

    Hey Steve!
    Lekker post bru. It sounds like it’s been quite the adventure! Can’t wait to join you in just over a month’s time… Keep strong 🙂
    ps – really enjoy reading your writing!

  • David

    April 14, 2012

    Steve it was so good to skype chat to you when you were at Warner Springs. We are looking forward to the next installment of this epic hike. Lots of love, Dad

  • audrey

    April 15, 2012

    Wow! Steve, what experiences you are having!! Sounds like you are being challenged on all fronts and rising to them – so impressed!!! Look forward to reading next installment! x

  • Ross

    April 15, 2012

    Nice work brother mine! To misquote Confucious: “When you are going through hell, keep going!”. Sounds like you have been making good decisions along the way.

    • Steve

      April 15, 2012

      Haha if you can call walking 22 miles (35km) a good decision. The terrain wasn’t even flat, it was a particularly mountainous stretch…

  • Debbie Neethling

    April 16, 2012

    Steve it has been very interesting reading your adventure. Lauren told us where to find you and we will be following you all the way. It is definitely a challenge on many levels and you seem to be dealing with it very well. Keep strong and keep going!

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