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Papa Al - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2011

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Alvin Kanigher
City: Topanga
State: California
Country: USA
Begins: Mar 11, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Thu, Mar 24th, 2011
Trip Distance: 55.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 658
Journal Visits: 6,572
Guestbook Views: 301
Guestbook Entrys: 18

Pacific Crest Trail Map

How the PCT Kicked my Ass and what I Learned.

It was an auspicious beginning with my jolly friends and I wandering around Campo looking for the PCT at dawn on my birthday. Now, I've been to Campo several times and yet still couldn't find the trail-head. Maybe due to the anxiety and excitement of finally setting foot on the famous trail confused my sense of direction. When we finally reached the monument and met Little Steps, who planned to walk with us until my friends departed after a few complementary miles of support, It was then when It occurred to me, my new REI store bought pack was a bit heavy. I will admit visiting the "Candy Store" of camping gear of all that is supreme and beautiful and shiny as well, overcame my sense of reality. I quietly gave in to all that I wanted and needed, Not. After all my birthday was here and a reward for breathing these long years was due for a reward. Bad thinking, because I was now in the process of caring my shiny gifts for a long long way. Little Steps tells me not to worry," You'll get used to the heavy load and probably walk a 10 mile day"........wha.......10 miles....I didn't plan on doing a 10 mile day! I caught up to my departing friends and gave them some of my new shiny things to hold until my return......Although my pack was still too heavy it weighed on my conscious effort to walk comfortably. I began to do what I had to do in order to continue.......One day hikers will remember the walking trail angel who gave wonderful gifts to those who met papa al along the PCT. Thankfully my pack lightened and I continued merrily along although I didn't feel thirsty nor hungry as well. Big mistake, very Big mistake. Walking the trail and finding my way through the recent Cowboy fire and then along incredible water falls to make camp under a spreading tree completed my first day of approximately 13-14 miles. I started early the next day and while I prepared my departure, I lost my sun hat to the wind. It was early enough and planned on picking up a hat in Lake Morena. And so I wore my wool sleeping cap during my continued very sunny warm day.....not feeling hungry or thirsty...Bad..very Big mistake. I believe at that time some deliriousness became apparent. I knew something was amiss when looking at a huge bolder asked myself if this bolder started out as a grain of sand. All I got in return was a cold stone look. My pack started to feel heavier as I walked on. The next mistake occurred when I walked past the PCT marker that indicated a 5 1/2 mile to Lake Morena. I kept walking getting more and more dehydrated along the way. Confused and dehydrated a small settlement of houses appeared and when asked for directions to a town was met by barking dogs. At this point I walked the hot dusty road and knew it had to end somewhere. I felt I had seen the desert movie before,where the unforgiving sand dunes shows an empty canteen and then a fallen rifle and empty steps and our hero crawling along to the oasis to be rescued by a beautiful damsel. It was not to be . My long hot dusty walk finally ended as I approached Lake Morena after a 10-12 round-a bout. The campgrounds where the PCT kickoff was a wonderful sight to behold. I met Halfmile there and he took me to the local grocery store for refreshments and back to the hiker's camping area and after a great hot shower, set camp and sleep like a mummy. I thank Halfmile for his quiet help. The next morning a little sore and not feeling all that well, I started walking towards Mt. Laguna and started experiencing what was later diagnosed as Hematuria. Not painful but something that should be looked at by a doc......and so as I approached the Interstate 8, I chose to hitchhike to San Diego and take a train home for a doc visit...................And so as I bathe in Gatorade and drink Vitalyte laced fliuds hydrating back to better and better health my spirit to continue has never left me. I will return my birthday gifts to rei and lace up my old pack and in the next week or two will be back on the trail....Important lessons learned!!

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Journal Photo

I'm Going As Far As My Feet Will Take Me

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:


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