Wednesday, June 27, 2007

PCT Day 1: Near Campo to Lake Morena

We got up "early" to put some miles behind us before the heat of the day really took hold. Later, we would come to a whole new definition of early, but for now we dragged ourselves out of tent and bivvi sac then spent some time faffing with where to pack stuff. Having laboured along with a full load of water the previous day, we actually looked at the map (!) today and dumped the majority of it.

The first real steps of the PCT were springing and lovely. Coarse sand, exotic (to me, at least) shrubbery, the sun rising slowly across the low hills. The path wound along like some manicured singletrack, just waiting for a mountain bike to swoop through. Clearly, my head had not yet adjusted to life on foot. It wasn't long before the heat started to build but we made some distance and were rewarded with views down into Campo Valley as the PCT wound in and out of the hills of the Hauser Wilderness (The trail is graded to be very shallow so every change of elevation brings with it a clutch of switchbacks). A burrito breakfast propelled us on towards Morena Butte, with only Hauser Canyon in the way.

At this point simple things like the Manzanitas were exciting. You find the red bark peeled back like some sort of flesh trees that would be on a Slayer album cover. We laboured our way up towards Morena Butte and I had the first occasion to deploy the desert umbrella. It worked amazingly well, shading fragile English skin from the sun and providing some respite to the heat.

Unfortunately, too little map-reading led us astray and a simple descent into Lake Morena involved a 2 hour diversion. Lesson learned: read the map, don't just rely on trail markers. Once down to Morena itself, the Malt Shop was much less Happy Days than I'd hoped but still a welcome treat.

The day had taken its toll on my feet though. Disregarding the wisdom of Ray, I had ignored the building pain and now I had blisters to contend with. Some Hydrogen Peroxide cream (mmm... fizzy) and some patches later, I was ready for shoe surgery part 2. There was a hard spot in the sole right under the ball of my foot. Nice quality control Saloman! I hacked out part of the insole to account for this and crossed my fingers. It felt better, but with my feet taped up it was hard to tell.

So, we camped down in Lake Morena, tried to avoid talking to the crazy ex-marine for too long. - he was carrying wheely luggage of the sort that people take on planes (how heavy?!) and also believed that the saliva from chewing beef jerky meant he had to drink less. To his credit he had made it all the way from Warner Springs, though.

Monday, June 25, 2007

It turns out that I kick ass

They finally got around to posting them and I finally got around to checking the results for the Dyfi Enduro: I was 2nd in the luddite (singlespeed) category and 29th overall.

Pretty satisfying especially considering my complete lack of riding from September until a few weeks before the event.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

PCT Day 0

All good things start from 0 and so it was with our PCT hike. After entertaining us with artichokes, pasta, and beer the night before, Cam drove us down to the start of the trail on the Mexican border. Well, actually he drove us via his office for some just-in-time planning of little details like water reports and also via a fast-food joint for the burritos which would be lunch, dinner and breakfast over the following 16 hours. Before getting to the trail-head it would be rude not to thank Linda for her role in the artichokes, beer and last minute stuff; and unconscionable not to thank Celia who did us so many favours it could be a blog by itself.

At the monument marking the start of the trail we looked out to the border in the south and bumpy chapparal-covered terrain extending north. We took photos and flicked through the register for a while and then a brown pick-up with twigs and other "camouflage" approached. It was a minuteman who seemed pleasant enough, but we steered well clear of talking politics. His moustache, trucker cap, and "doing the work the government won't" t-shirt were right on cue, but he did disappoint by chugging iced tea rather than beer.

Eventually we set off, our packs bulging with all the water we could carry. Our aim? Get far enough away from the border for a quiet night's sleep and get some miles in the bank for tomorrow. Before we'd even passed Campo, a map-check revealed no map. Dropped in the clearing between the monument and the start of the trail-proper. Doh! We made it a few more miles that night, ate burritos, and made camp. Even that short distance had me jumping to shoe-surgery. A slight rubbing in my toes before we came out to the PCT took on a whole new significance, so I hacked out part of the toe-box that was being folded into my feet. This seemed to help and Day 0 ended with excitable sleep and a chorous of coyotes.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

PCT Resupply Schedule

For those who may want to track our progress, or send stuff, here is our resupply schedule

Today, we walk

Today's the day that Morgan and I start the PCT. After a hectic couple of days around LA, including arriving straight off my flight and into helping to Morgan to move house, going to a gig, getting up at dawn for more moving house, and then running around packing food and running errands; things are settling towards the walk. Compared to all this, the walking is going to be a piece of cake.

Cable issues mean no photos yet, but coming soon... Matt sleeping with a dog, me sleeping in a pile of resupply boxes, the Elvis wig, and other chaos.

We owe thanks to a lot of people in LA and around who have helped us out and been incredibly kind.

Woohoo... It's finally starting :)