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Day 1: First Steps

Mexican border (mile 0) to mile 11.25

Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way.
– Dr. Seuss

We experienced our first trail magic before we even reached the trail. Scout and Frodo, who hiked the PCT in 2007 were super helpful hosting us and arranging rides to the trailhead. They hosted many other hikers too, and had a BBQ with various of their PCT friends. It was great to chat maps and photography with Half Mile, whose maps we are using on this trip. And we met a number of other hikers like us crazy enough to try to thru hike the PCT.

This morning Tristan drove us to the trailhead at 6 AM. We touched the Mexican border fence, signed the trail register, and then we were on our way.

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When you picture a desert, you might imagine a barren expanse of land, but the desert here is anything but barren. We saw lots of wildflowers and a variety of trees, grasses, and animals.

The temperature was perfect in the morning, though it got toasty later on.

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At 12:45 we took a siesta. We cooked beans and couscous under a manzanita tree. The siesta is great in the desert because it allows us to walk during the cooler morning and evening hours, and rest during the heat of the day. As we ate, a hummingbird paid us a visit and we charged our phones back to a full charge with our solar panel.
We walked a few more miles, and in the evening, we found a good spot and set up our tent. Now we can rest our feet and have a nice sound sleep.

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We both felt a bit disoriented from all the traveling we’ve been doing looking for a new home town, but now on the trail things seem very simple. When all you have to worry about is walking, eating, and sleeping, your mind can be at rest. Thus after the initial excitement wore off, we both felt comfortable and relaxed.

As we take these first steps on the PCT, we wanted to share that with each mile we walk we are raising funds for the Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy is an excellent nonprofit organization which protects ecologically important lands and waters around the world, including areas in all 50 states. Our goal is to each raise $1 per mile. This means we are aiming for a total of $5300. Click the link below to visit out Nature Conservancy donation page.
http://support.nature.org/site/TR?pg=fund&fr_id=1030&pxfid=2880

If you are one of the first ten people who donate, we’ll send you an awesome PCT postcard. Thank you for your support!

30 Comments Post a comment
  1. So exciting :) Have fun!!!!!

    April 19, 2012
  2. Looking forward to following you along. Enjoy!

    April 19, 2012
  3. Best of luck to you! I’m glad I get to armchair hike the pacific crest trail through your blog!

    April 19, 2012
    • It may be armchair, but by getting out of your chair and shipping us boxes, you are giving us a big boost! We will do our best to transmit what we experience here, fueled by the contents of those boxes. :-)

      April 22, 2012
  4. So excited for you guys! Congrats on your start!

    April 19, 2012
    • Thanks Stu! No howler monkeys here, but we are learning some new bird calls for sure. Hope your language study is going well. It sounds really cool to be immersed in another culture like that, and to study the language at the same time.

      April 22, 2012
  5. Ah, first steps! ………and Chris…..a fresh shave!

    April 20, 2012
    • Yes, you noticed! I felt the shave was appropriate to go along with the first steps. I plan to let it grow for the whole hike. I’m not sure how long it will get, but hopefully enough to look like a wise hiker. Whether actual wisdom goes along with the beard, we shall see, haha.

      April 22, 2012
  6. Becky O. #

    I am so excited to follow your journey! Am thinking of you!

    April 20, 2012
    • So glad you are following! We missed seeing you at Laura’s wedding, but we totally understand. Have a wonderful last few months in South Africa!

      April 22, 2012
  7. Jan Alexander #

    Gorgeous desert flowers…two happy looking people! How exciting you are on your way after all that amazing preparation. George wanted yet more detailed maps, so after looking through the possibilities he settled on Half Mile’s and downloaded them. Great that you met him in person!

    April 20, 2012
    • Yes, there are a ton of wildflowers. It’s great. Anna recognizes many of them, and is working hard to learn more. There are a lot of new species since we haven’t hiked in the desert much in the past.

      I’m glad Dad is getting into the mapping aspect of the trip. I figured he might. I remember going orienteering with him as a kid, and now I sometimes call on those map and compass skills!

      April 22, 2012
  8. Kit #

    First night…awww! Enjoy!

    April 20, 2012
    • Thanks Kit! We are still adjusting to being on the trail, but already we are really enjoying seeing so much that is new to us, and meeting new people who are slightly crazy too, in the best way, like you and Jacob are. :-)

      April 22, 2012
  9. dante #

    AWeSOME! I just booked a time on my calendar to meet up with you guys. Since we (myself, my kids, and Andy Bain & kids) are flexible on where we take our annual backpacking trip, we figured we will go where you are. Although we are slower and won’t hike as far, we can at least visit, and maybe you will take a rest day with us. July 28-Aug 3 will be our trip.
    Dante
    (Trailname: Spidey)

    April 20, 2012
    • Sounds great, Spidey! Let’s get in touch closer to those dates and we can figure something out. We don’t have trail names yet but I bet we will by then.

      April 22, 2012
  10. ryan Firestone #

    Yeah! It’s finally underway :-)

    April 20, 2012
    • Totally! And you know how those first steps are from your walk across the country. We have to pace ourselves, you know?

      April 22, 2012
  11. Margaret #

    You’re doing it!! When you talk about the other PCTers you met at the ‘starting gate,’ did you find any others are going when you are?

    April 20, 2012
    • Yes, we are on our way! We did meet others who started when we did, and we continue to run into some of the same folks. It’s fun to compare notes and see what is working for people and what isn’t. For example, a couple people have umbrellas to shade them from the sun, which we had never tried before. Today we are at a higher elevation which means it is cooler, so the sun is less of an issue.

      April 22, 2012
  12. Becky #

    It’s finally happening! So excited for you guys!! I know your excellent preparation is going to pay off, and it’s going to be an awesome, amazing time. Just sent in my donation – looking forward to my postcard! Actually, I was thinking that if you want, I could help inspire/thank folks by making some small artworks based on the sights of the hike as premiums, npr-style, for your major donors – let me know if that would be of interest :).

    April 20, 2012
    • Thanks Becky, and thanks for donating! Your premium idea is a great one, let us know if you have specific ideas for those. We are excited that our plans are becoming real!

      April 22, 2012
  13. Donna Davis #

    what a GREAT bonding experince!!!

    April 20, 2012
  14. lee w. #

    So excited that y’all are on your way! Praying that you will stay safe and healthy and enjoy your trip!!

    April 21, 2012
    • Thanks Lee! Have you considered designing a line of outdoor clothing? Most of what we’ve found isn’t too fashionable. :-)

      April 22, 2012
  15. Joe, Elaine, Ella, Mary and EJ #

    Just shared your first day adventure with our kids and they are loving it. Can’t wait to keep reading about your awesome hiking experience. Have fun.

    April 22, 2012
    • Great! Let us know if you guys have any picture requests or questions.

      April 23, 2012

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