Day 1: Here We Flamin-GO

1 April 2021
Mexico to Lake Morena
PCT Mile 0 to 20

Today was the day!!!

Half Cookie drove me out to the southern terminus this morning for the sunrise. Given how much I have been anticipating this hike, I thought I would tear up at the monument. But instead I teared up as we turned off the Interstate onto the road towards Lake Morena. By the time we arrived the catharsis was over with and I was simply giddy.

We climbed up from the parking area to the monument and there was another couple there from Seattle taking pictures and signing the register. They said “Now we walk home!”

Then Half Cookie and I got our own shots of the monument, and my turn with the register.

Let’s flamin-GO!
Half Cookie borrows my puffy

And then it was time to part. We were sad, but I am so grateful that she is supporting me in this crazy dream of mine.

Thank you sweetie

They have a new slatted border fence here so you can actually see Mexico now.

Well, part of me started in Mexico!

As the sun rose, I spied my first wildflower and before I knew it I was at Mile 1.

Bristly Fiddleneck
Done yet?

On the trail today I met a woman at the train tracks at mile 3 who was waiting for several friends to join her. I hope they connected!

At my first water source at mile 4.4 I met Zac who seemed to really enjoy the oasis we were sharing.

Later on I leap-frogged with two day hikers out to do a 17 mile day, a mother and son. The son was 9 years old! I asked him his trail name and he didn’t know what I meant. So I said “well usually it is a name about something that happens on trail. What do you do on trail?” His mom promptly said “Whine!” I laughed and then left them to work it out!

The wildflowers were pretty amazing during the morning.

Chaparral whitethorn
California manroot
A nice Dudleya
Chaparral yucca
San Diego yerba santa
Southern California silver lotus
Western Morning Glory
California peony
Short-winged deerweed
Parish’s nightshade
Southern California clematis

And then after 10 miles it was break time! I decided to honor National Burrito Day and April Fool’s Day at the same time.

Burrito fool

After break I walked a few miles north and finally got my first views of Hauser Mountain.

Hauser Mountain

As I was descending into Hauser Canyon, I caught up with Buffalo, who is attempting a thru-hike, and his 3 siblings who were hiking the first 40 miles with him. They are from Spokane and they hope to make it to Mount Laguna to watch Gonzaga in the NCAA tourney. We chatted for half an hour and then I sped down to the canyon to finish my burrito.

Lunch buddy

I spent a lovely hour in the shade by Hauser Creek and then finally decided to brave the 1300 foot climb out of the canyon in the 85 degree heat. I was very thankful to have my umbrella for shade!

Climbing out

And then I finally got my first view of Lake Morena!

Very glad to see you

On the way into town the library had put up some nice children’s poems along the trail.


And then I found the malt shop, which was glorious.


With food for tomorrow in hand, I wandered back to the PCT hiker section of the campground. There are about 20 hikers here and it was nice to meet some of them while I munched on a chef salad.

There is a hiker box here that is bursting with items people realized they don’t want to carry.

A lesson in ultralight!
Home for the night

So that was Day One! As I write this bunnies are bouncing and turkeys are gobble-gobbling right outside my tent. I’m looking forward to a good long sleep!

I am going to try to write a haiku (hike-u!) every day that captures what I’m feeling on trail and put them at the bottom of each post and in the trail registers as I go.

Here is today’s:

I’ve waited for years
Or perhaps ’twas a lifetime
To take my first step

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Dave Renas says:

    Nothing better than a well-earned milkshake. Glad your trip is off to such a great start!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. markbatz says:

    Lake Morena on day one. Very nice.I dropped off a couple from Washington that I picked up at the airport yesterday around 2pm. There were other hikers leaving too and others at the campground waiting for today.
    Are you planning on going around the rock slide at 172.5 or down Spitler Peak Trail? The snow is melting quickly in that area so the rockslide should be your only problem.
    I’m going to call the Ranger Station and see if the fire closure is going to open. I’ll let you know. Then you won’t have to look for a ride down to the 10

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JimmyJam says:

      I plan to do the rock slide. And if the Snow Fire closure is still going I plan to hike down to Palm Springs


  3. Awesome, travel safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sandy says:

    That sounds like a fantastic day 1. I am excited to follow you on your dream journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Samuel Wilson says:

    Bon voyage ! thanks for sharing your trail experiences, it is a nice break from my work in the office reading your stuff. Have fun as you turn the world around step by step…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on starting your PCT thru hike!

    Liked by 1 person

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