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Drew "Happy Hour" Smith
Begins: Apr 8, 2014
Date: Tue, Apr 8th, 2014
End: Mile 183
Daily Distance: 6
Trip Distance: 6.0
Entry Visits: 612
Journal Visits: 14,739
Guestbook Views: 699
Guestbook Entrys: 5
Pacific Crest Trail Map
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Back on the trail
A couple of miles and a 1600 foot climb up from Idyllwild, and there it was at last - the PCT marker at Saddle Junction. I couldn't help but break into a grin and whoop when I saw it.
I had been feeling jittery like I always do at the start of big hikes. There is so much to do to get ready, and there are so many things that can go wrong. But ultimately you just have to accept that you're not ever going to be more ready, and just put on the pack and go.
I said goodbye to brother Dave and started walking, and about 100 steps up the trail I started feeling the magic of walking free again.
Humans are made to walk. We walked out of Africa, up Europe, across Asia and down the Americas, and every walk connects us with those migrations. Our minds and senses are tuned to process information at walking speed; it makes us feel whole and connected.
So when I walked into Saddle Junction, I was ready to enjoy what was there: the dozens of birds singing as they paused in their journey between desert and forest; large pines and firs swaying gracefully in the wind; and extensive views of mountain peaks, forested slopes and desert valleys. And very ready to turn left at the junction and start heading up this 2-foot wide path to Walker Pass.
I'm sitting now in camp on a ledge overlooking the valleys to the west, and beyond them the coastal hills, and beyond them, the Pacific Ocean. It will be a prime spot to watch the sun set. But what I am really waiting for is darkness, and then morning, because that's when I can start walking again.
Also, I saw a bobcat at Strawberry Cienaga.
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