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Begins: Apr 1, 2008
Date: Wed, Mar 31st, 2004
Trip Distance: 244.6
Entry Visits: 486
Journal Visits: 69,425
Guestbook Views: 3,645
Guestbook Entrys: 9
Pacific Crest Trail Map
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Bob Riess with Jo at the monument
Journeys that matter rarely begin at a planned point in time, but rather result from an accumulation of choices that the traveler has made. Some time after the journey has begun, the traveler realizes that the path has been taken. By the time we decided that we would hike the Pacific Crest Trail, we had already hiked several hundred miles of it. The journey started many years ago—it grew out of the pleasure we experienced on our various hikes and somewhere along the line the journey became inevitable.
It was March 31, 2004 when we got on an airplane and flew to San Diego for our first significantly long section hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. For years we had been hiking little sections and in the last several years we had become more serious about our hikes; we had hiked two thirds of Oregon and the entire John Muir Trail, but with this hike we were starting into unknown territory that we would not normally choose to hike—the warmer drier lands of Southern California. There was no one to visit in the South and we had no other reason to go there other than to hike the trail.
We planned all winter. We were anxious and excited to start this new adventure. As the plane came down over San Diego and we looked out of its windows, we saw that the ground was wet and we knew that the adventure had begun. In all our years of hiking we had never hiked in the rain, a rain that would last for days, as this spring storm would. We found some humor in this—our first hike in the rain would be in Southern California!
The other significant difference to this hike was that it would be our first seriously “light” trip and we planned to hike about twenty miles a day, which seemed like a big leap for us at the time. Bob Riess picked us up at the airport at 5:30 p.m. right where he said he would be, under the statue of Guillermo, Bob was in his blue Dodge Caravan. This was our first encounter with a “trail angel,” a unique and special person who helps Pacific Crest Trail hikers specifically on their journeys. They provide essential services; in Bob’s case a ride to the trailhead in Campo, an hour’s drive away.
Bob is a schoolteacher who loves the Pacific Crest Trail. He told us that he had been helping at the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Offs (ADZPCTKO) and a few years ago, one of the hikers told him that he had an horrific time getting to Campo where the trail starts. The hiker missed or misunderstood the public transportation system and had no place to stay. At that point Bob says, he thought,“ I don’t want anyone sleeping on broken bottles in my city.” And the rest is history. In the Spring months of the year, and in April especially, Bob keeps busy transporting hopeful hikers from Dan Diego to Campo in the early hours of the morning before he starts his real job at the local high school.
We had dinner with Bob at a local Mexican restaurant, which was wonderful, then went to his home where we sat and talked for a while. He asked us repeatedly if we needed to go to the store to buy anything and of course, we didn’t, but he did provide us with white gas and water, which was all we needed. We went to bed at 10:30, tired and anxious for the adventure to begin.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org