20mi. (Mile 20.0) – Lake Morena
Hi 95/Low 45
We arrived to the kickoff late Friday around 9:00pm. Got registered, found our campsite, and cowboy camped next to Split + Two Step, and Lion Heart who are all also thru-hiking this year.
The kickoff festival is a yearly hiker gathering geared toward PCT thru hikers; the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail KickOff festival – ADZPCTKO. They have popular hiking brand vendors, various presentations, snow and water reports, short film showings, and plenty of experienced hikers with good advice to give.
Saturday Flying Scotsman got a new pack and tent from Z-packs lightening his load by over 10lb. So now we all have matching tents and bright orange rain jackets.
We set up our tents and started wandering about from random campsites to vendor tents meeting the nicest happiest people. At dark we viewed the short film fest and promptly went to bed.
We also found this beetle.
The monument at the beginning.
Sunday was our first day hiking the PCT. At about 6AM we got a ride from Gitzo to the Mexican border at the beginning of the trail. We snapped some pictures at the monument, signed the register, and took our first steps north on the PCT.
Mexico through the fence.
Although it was cool when we started the temperature increased quickly. By 11AM my thermometer read 95(f).
We aren’t used to this incredible heat. Just the radiant heat from the ground alone is overwhelming. Full UV protection is mandatory in the middle of the day. It is so dry that when you sweat it evaporates so quickly that you don’t realize you are sweating.
Because of these hot dry stretches we have to carry much more water than we are used to. For the 20 mi section we completed on our first day we brought about six liters each. That’s about 2 gallons!
We all struggled with the heat. We took until 9PM to get to camp. When we arrived we were excited to come right off the trail in to the Anderson’s camp.
The Anderson’s (Trail Angels) had a giant pot of chili, drinks, and a large loud crowd of hiker trash. We immediately flocked to the chili like we hadn’t seen food in months.
Scotsman grabbed a hotdog, felt dizzy and nearly passed out from heat exhaustion. Luckily “lots of luck” who happened to be an EMT was nearby to help. We cooled him down with water and slowly replenished his electrolytes. In about an hour he was 90% back to normal, sitting back and joking. Scotsman did manage to safely set his hotdog down as he almost passed out.
After that excitement, around midnight, another hiker “Rodney Dangerfield” came in with similar symptoms who did not recover well and was sent to the hospital.
As if that wasn’t enough, a tree at our campsite fell on a few tents. Luckily nobody was too seriously injured. Like a miracle, it was almost as though the tents were set up in anticipation of where the tree fell.
The tree was rotten at the trunk and filled with ants.
Virgo, a trail filmmaker, was hit in the head. He received a concussion and cut part of his ear. We hope you are alright Virgo!
This morning we spotted the legendary 4lb bronze wizard. He makes his way from trail to trail via being snuck into people’s bags. We last saw him in 2009 on the AT.
Today we are taking it easy and heading out late. We are trying to avoid hiking in the heat for sure.