Campo To Hauser Creek, 15.4 miles
How many times today did I think “pinch me, is this real?!” We got dropped at the border around 7:00am, and by the time the terminus hosts gave us a short talk and pictures were taken, it was about 7:45am. I touched Mexico and was on my way. The first three miles seemed to drift on like a dream – I hiked with someone for that time, then went off on my own. It’s a new feeling to not have to base my pace off of anyone else. I can hike however fast or slow I want, be alone when I want, talk or not talk, take breaks in the shade when I decide I need a break. It’s so fun! So freeing! And so I did – I set my own pace, leapfrogging around a few people from miles 3-9, walked by myself until mile 14 or so, and then finished the last mile of the day with this 70 year old man. The desert was more green than I imagined. Flowers and shrubs and cacti, full of color. The first 15.4 felt pretty good physically, and I got into camp around 3:00pm. Called it a day, because between the sun and the miles, I was feeling content with my 15.4 miles. Day 1 in the books.
Hauser Creek to Fred’s Canyon, 16.7 miles
Man, I hope my body gets better at sleeping soon. Slept on and off, and ended up getting out of camp around 6:40 in my attempt to beat the heat for the climb out of the canyon. Overcast, cool temperatures, more flowers and interesting rocks, rabbits and lizards. The first five miles of the day almost felt like I floated along, immersed in random thoughts and the beauty of the desert. After 5 miles, I hit mile 20 and came across my first trail magic! Someone had set up a table at the campground and had bananas and gatorade. I then ate a breakfast burrito at the local shop, with enough calories to probably get me to Mexico ha! But finally, it was time to get back to hiking the remaining 12 miles of the day. I leapfrogged with the same couple from yesterday, and we all ended up eating lunch together at a campground, about 6 miles into the afternoon. It’s only day two and I already have a special appreciation for picnic tables, pit toilets, and water that doesn’t have to be filtered. The last 6 miles of the day were a combination of me hiking like a maniac trying to beat the rain, praying that it wouldn’t rain, and then walking in a light rain with another hiker. Thankfully the rain didn’t get going too much until my tent was set up. Didn’t even cook dinner, just ate all of my leftover snacks from the day. It’s safe to say hiker hunger hasn’t hit yet – I’m not even sure my appetite is up to what it is in my daily life.
Fred’s Canyon to Penny Pines, 16.7 miles
I was not planning to do another 16+ mile day but such is life when you get through the first 9 miles into town by 10am, and realize you might as well keep going in the afternoon. I’m finding that I just really enjoy hiking early in the morning, as it allows me to get a few miles in before the day really heats up. Not sure I could hike 3 miles an hour through the desert if I waited until later in the day. Someone I was hiking with and around today commented that I hiked this morning like I was hunting someone down, or on the run from the law. Some miles are like that and then some, like a few this afternoon, seem to be a montage of sweating profusely and talking to myself. It’s interesting though to watch the terrain change even over a few miles or so. Heading into Mt. Laguna today, I walked through a little forest shaded by trees and smelling of pine. Thankfully the afternoon was spent with a small group, which was a nice change of pace. Life out in the desert is really dictated by water – the miles we do, campsites we choose, how heavy our packs are. We pushed on to a water source tonight and it is great to be able to tank up and not worry about dry camping for the night. There’s a lot of people here – but now it’s 7:30 and people have sort of retreated to their tents. I, for one, am feeling pooped.