Day 1 – Have midlife crises early and often

I think I almost broke my tarp with how fast I jumped out of bed this morning at 5 o’clock. Anxiousness had turned to excitement and I had 20 miles to walk. However, I quickly learned another PCT lesson: don’t make too many plans, you never know what the trail has in store for you. I thought I could get out of camp before Legend started coffee and pancakes but it didn’t happen. It was 7am before I left camp with a full belly. 

The hiking came easy. Rolling hills turned into a canyon at mile 14.7 which had us descend 500 feet then climb 1200 feet to the edge of Lake Morena. All day I was looking forward to getting a burger at the Oak Shores Malt Shop. However, the highlight of the day was meeting Thea. She and her husband live in nearby Orange, CA and traveled out to the trail so she could hike a section and he could ride his dirt bike. Thea knew about all of the plants and birds along the trail. I learned about the Yucca chaparral, manzanita, monkey flower, paintbrush and many more. For those 5 or so miles I hiked with Thea, I forgot all about the burger. 

It’s hard to tell people what life is like on trail. I’m often asked if I’m hiking alone or what I will do all day while walking. One thing I hope to do is walk with and learn from as many people as possible. As I write this on day 6, I have met someone from every region of the US, 2 people from Israel, 1 from Amsterdam and 1 from France. The opportunities to learn from those around you on trail are abundant and the first thing I learned from someone else was from Thea. “Have midlife crises early and often.”

Miles: 20.2 Total Miles: 20.2

This is the Chapparal Yucca. It takes about 5 years to reach maturity, at which point it flowers and then dies. You can often find an alive plant next to a dead one, like in the picture above, because it produces offshoots that continue to reproduce.

2 thoughts on “Day 1 – Have midlife crises early and often

  1. Hi Jim–thanks for the “shout-out” . . . I really enjoyed meeting, hiking, and chatting with you . . . what a fun way to make the miles zoom by!

    Good luck on your PCT journey–maybe not a mid-life crisis, but just one more (OK, a lot more) step(s) on a lifetime of learning & adventure.

    Happy trails, Thea

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