A few weeks ago I contacted “trail angels” Scout and Frodo. They have this trail angel thing dialed in.
Frodo collects me and assorted other hikers from the San Diego International Airport. She’s incredibly efficient. She takes us to her home where Tammy, a seasoned thru-hiker, shows us around and gets us settled. In the backyard, a group of hikers compare gear (already a reoccurring theme) and set up their tents. There is lunch, last minute shopping, mail drops, and dinner. After dinner, Scout serenades us with acoustic guitar classics.
Wake up is at 5:00am. We need to be in the cars and driving to Campo by 6:00am. But by 9:00pm (hiker midnight), many of us are still not in our tents. Spirits are too high with anticipation.
In the morning, we eat another great homemade meal prepared by the incomparable Team Frodo and Scout. Frodo lets us in on a secret: Kale, a hiker from Texas, wants to propose to his girlfriend, Becca. Scout has purchased silk Calla Lilies (Becca’s favorite flower) and distributed them to us. Kale will propose at the Campo PCT monument with the 20 of us by his side. Our starting point is a many-headed beginning.
I hike the first 20 miles to Lake Morena. My mind is all over the place. I’m uncomfortable. My pack sucks. Do I have enough water? Too much? Should I stop for a break? Am I taking too many breaks? Will I make it to Morena? Will I make it to Morena? Why is it taking so long to get to Morena? I can’t keep my mind from wandering. Lots of ups and downs – internally and geographically. I play leap frog with other hikers; some are taken out momentarily from blisters, gear failure, heat, and for snack breaks. I think about the Hunger Games.
I get to Lake Morena at 7:00pm. Too tired to walk the 3/4 miles to the malt shop, I set up my tent, make a bag of my amazing pesto pasta and quickly crash. I’m doing this.