Installment #2 - April 17, 1999 - On the Trail At Last!
We got here last night to a rented cabin in Morena Village. I had assumed that a cabin with bunks meant beds with mattresses. It didn't - there were just plywood bunks. We had only one mattress; the one I would be using on the trail, so we gave that to Rita, and Aruna and I spent a pretty uncomfortable night sleeping on the plywood, and it was cold as well. I feel bad for Rita and Aruna - for them, it was slumming it. For me, it was one of the more luxurious accommodations I'm likely to expect for some time.
We got up a little before 6AM, drove out to the border, close to freezing, took a bunch of pictures at the border. Robert Bedichek and I reached our hands over the fence into Mexico. While we were there, another car drove up - a father and son. The father dropped the son (Jonathan) off, took some pictures and left, and the three of us set off from there.
The trail was pretty clearly marked - we had no problems at all. As the day progressed it got hotter and hotter - got up into the low 90's. After lunch, as we were climbing up out of Hauser Canyon, which was the steepest and longest climb of the day, it was up into the high 90's. So that was the biggest challenge - the heat. We got to use an umbrella with mylar on it - the third guy, Jonathan, had taken Ray Jardin's suggestion and brought an umbrella with mylar stuck on it to reflect the sun - it works pretty well!
We're back at Morena Village, where there is a party about to begin for the thru-hikers. Some "Trail Angels" will be serving us hamburgs, hotdogs, and cold drinks. I've been on the PCT list for quite a while, and there will be a lot of people whose names and "trail names" I recognize at the party - people like "PCT Coach", "Annie and the Salesman", "Meadow Ed", "Go Forth". All these people are either on the trail ahead of me, and got rides back for the party, or will be starting out later. "Meadow Ed" is a guy who's been a Trail Angel up in the area of Kennedy Meadows for several years, but is actually doing some hiking this year.
Tomorrow, I head out to Mount Laguna, and I expect to be there when the Post Office opens at 8:00 on Monday morning. Mount Laguna is only another 22 miles or so from here, and is the first restocking location, three days into the trip. The next one is another five days, then four, then nine, then seven and so on. The "nine" is intentional - I could have resupplied in between, but I wanted to try a big one to see how I made out before I hit the Sierras and HAVE to do a big one.
No knee problems, no foot problems - my only complaint was the heat (and a bit of a resulting headache). The twenty miles was no problem. Rob Bedichek, who has some arthritis in his ankles, didn't expect to do it in one day, but he did. In fact, he set the pace for the three of us, which probably made it easier. I know I would have gone a lot faster, but probably pooped out a lot sooner.
I feel very encouraged about today - no problems at all - I'm feeling real good. But there really isn't any steep uphill so far - the first twenty miles. Supposedly, the entire trail is graded for stock - at most a 6% grade or so. Overall, with the exception of last night's accommodations for Rita and Aruna, I'm delighted with the way it's going!
The above was transcribed from a phone call from Allen on Saturday evening. Note that the spelling of names and places (e.g. Hauser Canyon?) may be wrong because I just type them in as I hear them, phonetically. Allen expects to make contact again on Monday evening from Laguna, so expect another report shortly thereafter.
|Aruna and Rita wide-eyed and
bushy-tailed having arisen at 6AM to
take Allen down to the border.
|Allen and Rob Bedichek looking
happy, confident, and comfortable
for the last time for six months.
|Allen says that this is "Meadow Ed"
- I say that Jerry Garcia is alive and
hiking up and down the PCT. Shown
here with some other "Trail Angels"
at the Lake Morena party.
|Rob Bedichek describing the fish
he pulled out of Lake Morena
earlier that day to the "Trail Angels".
Added from scans of Allen's slides on May 8:
The stark rented cabin at Morena Village