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Bzirbes - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2012

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Brian Zirbes
City: Birmingham
State: Alabama
Begins: Apr 20, 2012
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Thu, Apr 19th, 2012
Start: Birmingham, Alabama
End: San Diego and Scout and Frodo
Entry Lat: 35.130457
Entry Lng: -118.465811

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 3,096
Journal Visits: 12,666
Guestbook Views: 480
Guestbook Entrys: 2

Gear list

Pacific Crest Trail Map

(Click image for full size)

early morning light on the hills of Southeastern California

San Diego

Tonight Beavercheeks, Timmy 2 Bagels, Moss and I are staying at Scout & Frodo's with about 7 other hikers. The names I can remember are stride, Hans, Calf, Hannah, Flo.

Beavercheeks, Tim and I arrived in San Diego a little after 9:30, and made the deadline for returning our rental car by a narrow margin. With about 2 hours to spare before our ride would arrive, our first thought was to walk to a Mexican restaurant. None were nearby so we settled on walking to the bay and eating chips and salsa on a bench.

We were picked up at the San Diego airport (where we returned the rental) by Tristan, who was helping the Manns (Scout and Frodo) shuttle hikers to their house San Diego and to the border (he hiked the PCT some time ago and knew Moss from working for the AMC in New England).
After dropping our packs at S&F's house, Moss, 2 Bagels, the Beav and I walked to a grocery store down the street to get some last minute trail food. I bought some delicious aged Gouda and a bag of wasabi peas.

Driving through the night from Alabama to San Diego was exhausting, and the strangeness of driving 2,000 miles in 29 hours before walking 2,700 miles in 5 months did not escape us. Besides saving us a little money, one upside of driving rather than flying was seeing the landscape change so dramatically. And the upside for me was that I didn't have to drive. In the backseat of our rented mobile glass and metal box I watched the dense green forests and hills of the southeast flatten out and dissipate. In central Texas we drove straight towards the setting sun, watching it burying itself in the dry land that would be our new home. When I wasn't dozing in the backseat I stared up and out of the car's rear window; the stars were spectacular and it seemed like magic that they were fixed above us while everything else flew past at 80 mph.

The sun rose behind the hills of West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and we'd arrived in desert country. It looked foreign, naked, mostly flat, and sandy, with large burnt-red rock mesas rising up here and there. It looked like a hard place for anything to live in, especially a human bean. The only discernable plants were sage brush and saguaro cactus. It looked like the set of a Roadrunner cartoon.

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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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