Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 1: Ermagerd!!!


I woke up to rain at 5am. We had coffee in bed, as per usual and tried to gather our thoughts. We left for the border around 6:30am with Carlos, Eli and met Robert at the terminus for last good byes. There were several groups there taking photos, including Buddy backpacker who is attempting another thru hike following his successful Appalachian trail hike. The thing that is special about Buddy is that he is SIX YEARS OLD! Scout, a trail angel, handed Josh the register book. And We both wrote short entry's before taking several photos at the terminus and heading out. It was cold and drizzling but we were too excited to really care. Around mile 4 the rain finally stopped and a beautiful spring day emerged causing all of the wildflowers to open up for us.

As I hiked my mind kept focusing on all the little aches and pains occurring in my body and my mind was telling me I wasn't going to make it because of my foot, leg, back, whatever pain was going to take me out. I had to consciously tell myself to relax.

We leap frogged a couple of groups, some day hiking, some thrus and slack packers. As we climbed out of a canyon near mile six we heard a hiker down below singing. Josh named him karaoke until we passed his friends Ingrid and Chris who said he already had a trail name - 'In Charge'. Later Josh asked Ingrid if In Charge's real name was Charles in Charge, to which she laughed and said, "not yet!" I look forward to seeing names morph over the course of the trip.

Continuing up, we passed a group of female hikers. I said hello and one lady replied "look, it's Mandie and Josh!" Josh and I stopped dead in our tracks and I asked her what her name was. "Tina." she replied, "I read your blog". Well, color me happy! That made my day!!

We stopped on top of a plateau, near a pipe gate at mile 8.88 for lunch of pb&j on tortillas and watched the ominous clouds roll in before starting back down the trail.

As we approached Hauser Canyon, my left IT Band was as tight as a guitar string and giving me fits. We stopped at mile 14 to try stretch it out but it was a slow decent into the canyon. We only took a brief pit stop before starting the climb up Morena Butte. This climb is always a bit of a bummer after 15 miles, and once at the top, I told Josh that we have to make it to Canada because I'm not doing that climb again! This is my fourth time doing this 20 mile section of trail. I'm over it!

The rest of the hike into Lake Morena was an experiment in gait. I played with different ways of walking, in an attempt to mitigate my impending knee pain from the tight IT band. It was mildly successful and I only had a few zing! moment in my knee.

Finally the lake came into view and it was nothing more than a meadow. The city of San Diego has appropriated the water in Lake Morena, and sent it to nearby Otay Lakes which is more of a money maker for the city. Seeing Morena almost completely dry was really sad.

When we reached the road we bypassed the campground altogether, heading directly for the store. When we arrived the hospitality was amazing. We grabbed Gatorade and 7up and ordered the biggest, most amazing double bacon cheeseburger and fries I have ever had! We chatted up Ingrid and her friend Flo before buying some resupply food fortomorrow and heading to camp.

I have poor phone service at the campground but managed to send the OK to my mom, brother, and Josh's mom. Josh's mom replied that his dad may need surgery following the stroke, but that he was in good spirits. I hope to have better reception tomorrow so we can keep up on what's going on. Send him good, healing juju, everyone!!

Now, it's 8:30pm, Josh is already conked out next to me and I'm ready to join him! Tomorrow we plan to climb to Cibbettes flats camp, a short 13 mile day. Hopefully my leg will do some recovering over night. It is a literal pain in the butt...cheek.

Till tomorrow!


  1. Awesome! Thank you for the amazing update; I'm looking forward to following you two until the end. Looks like all of those training hikes paid off. I hope your IT band pain mitigates itself in time. You might want to try to do some myofascial release with a tennis ball (same function as a foam roller, which I think you mentioned doing before, but just more portable obviously) and piriformis stretches!

    Best of luck to you and Josh!

  2. Just found your blog and looking forward to following your Journey. Hoping the best for Josh's dad. Wanted to reply so you know there are people out here reading. :) thank you for sharing.

  3. Hi it's Tina!!! I made it into your blog post, I see :-) I thought I had scared you when I yelled out Mandie and Josh :-)
    Here's my post from the first day:

    Good luck to you and Josh!

  4. ermahgerd! Dyin here... Where's day 2?!?!?!
    Cant wait for an update! ;)


  5. Hi Mandie & Josh! We met briefly at Dobbs camp last year with the bear incident.

    I didn't know you guys were already training for PCT that time we met! And here you both are already on Day 10 (I think).. so cool! Looking forward to following you guys through this blog to fuel my need to do the JMT then the PCT!

    Happy Trails!