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Begins: May 27, 2009
Date: Wed, May 27th, 2009
Start: Chantilly, VA
End: Agua Dulce, CA
Daily Distance: 0
Entry Visits: 2,715
Journal Visits: 42,740
Guestbook Views: 1,461
Guestbook Entrys: 24
Pacific Crest Trail Map
So this is the first entry in my PCT journal. For friends and family wondering what I am doing with a PCT journal read the last entry in the AT journal. For those who don't know me read the first couple entries of the AT journal.
I've hiked about 1,000 miles on the AT this year and now I'm over here on the PCT. I'm starting at Agua Dulce, mile 454 and plan to hike to Canada and then come back here and hike south back to Mexico and home, San Diego. Since getting off the AT on Sunday I've been staying with Mark in Chantilly, VA taking care of administrative stuff to get ready for the PCT quickly. Mark truely is a true friend.
I was able to get a really cheap, direct flight from Dulles to LA which was nice. The flight was uneventful and I was able to keep busy watching 2 movies. Last Chance Harvey was kind of lame, but Yes Man was surprisingly funny. My checked bag was quickly picked up and there was a Homeland Security inspected tag on it. I was concerned that maybe they confiscated my soda can stove or Aqua Mira, but everything seemed to be in order.
I caught a short bus ride to Union Station and had an hour to grab a desperately needed meal so I braved a seedy part of downtown LA and walked a couple blocks to the closest burger place. The 1 hour train ride out to the Antelope Valley was comfortable and instead of me having to hitch from the train station to Agua Dulce on the large high speed road, a local "ride angel" (Bill) picked me up and drove me the 10 miles which was really great.
I arrived at the trail angels of all trail angels, the Saufley's. I stayed here in 2004 and after many, many miles of hiking still have never been to a better place. Donna of Donna and Jeff Saufley is the ring leader and has an entire backyard devoted to hikers which can number 40-50 a night in prime season. There is a double wide, RV and canvas shelters with cots to sleep on. She does your laundry for you, there is internet, showers, trail info, bikes to ride the mile to town, BBQ grills and more. If you need anything she can make it happen. The injured are known to hole up here for as long as it takes to heal. There are also a bunch of horses and dogs wandering around everywhere. All of this is for free (most hopefully leave a donation).
I arrived to a packed crowd of at least 30 hikers and knowing no one it was kind of strange. I grabbed a cot, relaxed and milled around talking to random folks. The crowd was surprisingly very young with most in their 20's and 30's. Kind of a contrast to the mix of young and old on the AT. Somewhat surprisingly there are a lot of cigarette smokers and less surprisingly lots of pot smokers. Maybe I'm just getting old as I notice these things. There's a few hikers here with some injuries (mostly feet and legs) and hearing of the perils of the first 450 miles and the crazy bisters, etc. was fun. It's too much to describe all the folks I met, but it was fun meeting Skywalker, the guy who's book I recently read in Hot Springs and mentioned in the AT journal. Sounds like he is having just as much trouble out here as he did on the AT.
There was also a couple of guys doing trail magic at the trail angels! They had beers and were cooking burgers and hot dogs. One of the guys sons was hiking the trail and was helecoptered out due to dehydration on Day 1.
It seems that I am on the back end of the big crowd of hikers. I kind of wish I was on the front end as I will now probably end up passing right through the crush of hikers at some point.
So all is well here on the PCT. It's exciting to be on what I would consider the best long distance trail there is, but bitterswet without Lisa.=
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