This post was written in my sleeping bag at the end of a long day. Please excuse any errors.
The wind is like a living creature. It shakes the tent so hard I am sure it will break my poles. Every few hours it rips out a tent stake, or snaps a guy line, forcing me to try to fix it from my sleeping bag. Then it is light and the wind isn’t dropping, so there is nothing to do but hike.
Up over the ridges of the Laguna mountains, the wind gusts at more than 60 mph. It slaps my face and throws sand at me like it holds a grudge. We drop down to the desert floor and it is worse, pushing me off of the trail. I’m grateful it didn’t do this an hour before, when it was a long 500 foot drop to the ground as we hiked along a tiny ledge. And then we are at the road, and hitching. A woman with a tiny dog picks us up, drives us to Julian and a hotel, and gives us beer before heading on her way. It all started five days before. The Pacific Crest Trail winds serpentine through the mountains north of Campo, at the Mexican border. It twists, turns and switchbacks, taking the scenic route. I meet a fantastic group of people at Scout and Frodo’s, and I hike with my new friends. Somehow I keep up with two six foot plus guys. We camp fifteen miles in at Hauser Canyon. Every mile the scenery changes, but I am always amazed by how green it is. El nino has left the desert green and flowering. We see snakes and one morning, a scorpion. The PCT is beautiful, but tough. By day two, my quads are so sore that it hurts to squat. I have a blister the size of a quarter than I manage to keep intact all the way to Julian, and the balls of my feet burn from hitting rocks all day. We have long water carries- sixteen pounds of water on the first day dwarfs my baseweight. But the people I hike with make me laugh harder over nothing than I have in a long time and the scenery continues to take my breath away.