Day 1: “I’m Going To Nervous Poop For You!”

Total Mileage: 22

Holy Cannoli.

It’s only been two days since leaving Kansas and I feel like I have been gone for a week minimum.

First, a little bit about leaving and arriving in San Diego! I am surprised that leaving hasn’t gotten any easier. I almost feel like it has gotten harder each time. My family and friends are everything to me. I couldn’t be doing these cool adventures if it wasn’t for them. They have kept me strong and even while I was weirdly freaking out about this trail, they were the ones who kept me focused and excited. I think they and I know that if I don’t at least try to embark on these journeys, that I would later in life regret it.

Nevertheless, on May 10th my boyfriend took me to the airport at 9 and my tummy was a rumblin with those nervous poos like they do. For some reason I couldn’t stop thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Additionally…. I am terrified of flying. I’d much rather take a road trip but San Diego is a bit far.

I boarded the plane and what felt like forever (6 hours) I finally arrived in San Diego and was reunited with Planner. It felt weird and amazing all at the same time. We had texted so much over the years but hadn’t seen each other in person in so long. We immediately started comparing packs and laughing with each other and talking about our next plan.

We decided instead of taking the $75 Uber to our hotel that we would walk towards downtown and the ocean. Enjoying the beautiful 65 degree weather and catching up.

We reached a shore and Alicia had let us know she was ready to meet us.

Alicia was a fellow Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia who also extended for a year. She was a G15 and I was a G18 so her first two years were finishing as I was beginning. Her and I initially hit it off when we found out the other knew sign language. I think everyone around us was wondering what the heck happened as we giggled and started signing rapidly back and forth. Her and I saw each other now and then and always ended up having the best conversations.

Needless to say, I was so excited to see her again. Her and I had talked about doing the PCT before and she had told me she lived in San Diego and would take me to the start whenever I did it. A woman true to her word!

Alicia, Planner, and I all decided to meet at a restaurant for an early dinner. I had planned poorly for my airplane travels and survived off of the Southwest free snacks. 😂 I was ready for food and happy they were too.

Planner and I arrived before Alicia and decided to purchase our first beer thanks to Powerade!! (We couldn’t say thank you enough for being a wonderful friend and wanting to buy us a beer in town, we wish you could be on this trail with us!)

Alicia shortly arrived and us three were quickly chatting away. I knew those two would equally hit it off and it was like we had all been friends for a long, long time.

We ate at a place called The Taco Stand that had some of the best burritos we could have asked for. They were so filling though that I had to take some of it as a “pocket burrito”.

Alicia being our first trail angel not only drove us around but also bought us our dinner too. (Thank youuuuu for being you!!) After our fully bellies we heading to Alicia’s parents house and met her mother. A trail angel all on her own.

Us four sat and talked for a while about trail life and about Ethiopia as she had visited Alicia during her service. It was fun to talk about all the memories and experiences but it was my favorite listening to Alicia’s mom talk about how excited she was for us to hike this trail. She helped remind me just why I am doing this trail and the beauty that was to come.

Night was quickly approaching and after our visit we did a little resupply and headed to our hotel to sleep.

Day 1 on May 11th we woke up early and headed to a little diner called Perry’s. I almost couldn’t eat as my stomach had butterflies thrashing about but forced myself to down some eggs and pancakes. We then got in the car and Alicia said a prayer for us and we made the stunning hour drive to Campo, San Diego. We winded back and forth through the mountains and I felt the nervous poos coming on full force. Alicia even announced that she was going to also nervous poo for us as she could feel the anxiety too.

I truly was taken back by the unique beauty. Both planner and I had never seen the desert before and it was something special. Then suddenly we were at the famous PCT starting monument and I kept shrieking/yelling like a little girl. This was it.

We took our starting pics and expressed our many thanks to Alicia and started out our journey. (Seriously Alicia, thank you for being incredible!!)

We had a quick pace and found ourselves passing a couple people early on. We felt strong and in control even with the massive water amount we were carrying.

We talked and talked about our recent lives and what was new. It amazed me how it really felt like no time had passed. We were both similar but yet… older and whatever comes with age.

We were rockin and rolling cruising over the flat miles and then it was 11:30 and the desert decided to show us what it was all about.

Hot. Dry. And Stunning. We found ourselves needing to take frequent breaks but also knew that we weren’t going to have any water supply until 20 miles in. If we rested too long, we would drink too much, and not have enough to last till camp. It quickly became a game of trying to beat the sun.

The desert is entirely different than anything Planner and I are used to but we are learning how to adapt quickly.

After a grueling few hours in the afternoon hiking up a climb in the direct sunlight, we reached Lake Morena campground with a spigot and restroom.

We felt like it was heaven. We filled our bottles, plopped down, and started chugging. Cold water has never tasted so good. Once we felt rejuvenated we headed to the restrooms and were bummed to see the showers would only work with quarters so instead stuck our legs in the sinks. 😂 (shhhhhh probbbbbbably not the nicest move but the amount of dirt they had collected needed to go)

We then hiked on 2 more miles to finish out the day with a solid 22 miles.

It was exhilarating and exhausting. My legs felt decent but my shoulders have forgotten what it’s like to carry a heavy pack. Laying in my tent was exciting though. I knew I probably wasn’t going to sleep the best and knew that I would be sore in the morning but I feel excited to be out here doing this dang thang again! One mile at a time.

Plus… This beauty makes up for it every time.

Iz and Oz

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