Day 39, 21 miles
Today I smiled all day. I laughed, I skipped, I sang. Today I will be in Kennedy Meadows. It even hailed a bit, but I wasn’t cold. Reaching Kennedy Meadows is a big milestone for everyone on the trail. I could feel the excitement building in the last few days.
PCT surveys reveal this first 700 miles is considered the most challenging and least favourite. There have been only six deaths on the PCT since 1983, all in the first 700 miles. 3 falling of cliffs or icy slopes, 2 hit by cars, 1 heat stroke.
I loved these weeks here in the SoCal mountains. This section is actually very rewarding. I found it to be so diverse with desert creatures and plants, lush forests, snow capped mountains with sweeping views of the hot, arid valleys and surrounding mountains. I even enjoyed the heat and did better in it than I expected.
The people of California treat PCT hikers like celebrities. Twice I had people insist I take their flip flops to use when my feet were sore while in towns. In Idyllwild the locals bought us food and would fight over us to give rides. Water caches and trail magic were located just where we needed it most. This all done out of people’s generosity, kindness, and on their own time. Thank-you SoCal.
To sum it up, for me, the SoCal section of the PCT is beautiful, brutal, confidence building, humbling.
I made it through Boot Camp! A rite of passage. Now for the meat and potatoes of the PCT, the Sierras.