Hiking The Pacific Crest Trail: Day 1
PCT south terminus is located just outside of small town called Campo, about 2 hours drive by car from San Diego. The monument stands 30 feet from the Mexican border – a metal wall stretching out as far as the eye can see and guarded all the way by Border Patrol vehicles. If you fly into San Diego, it could take you over a day, or sometimes several days, to get into Campo by public transportation.
Our first encounter with a Trail Angel was even before we have hit the trail. A Trail Angel is someone who selflessly goes out of their way to help out hikers. The help could be in form of giving a ride, bringing food & water to the trail, or anything that would help a hiker in their journey. Rob Reiss has been hosting hikers in his San Diego home since 1999. This year over a 150+ hikers will come through his house. He picked us up from San Diego airport and immediately asked if there is anything we need (like a run to the grocery store, supermarket, REI or a post office) to get before our big day the next morning. That day he hosted 5 hikers including us who will start their hikes the following morning on April 26.
One of the cool aspect of thru-hiking are the wide variety of people you get to meet. Jeff has just finished college and going on this adventure before committing to other things in life. Sal is from Kazakhstan, living in US, around his early 30s, was like me – able to get a leave from his job. Lastly there was Shawn Knox. Shawn is a retired fella in his 60s, who has already had 3 cancers and a heart attack last year. The daily medication that he had to bring weighted more than his food. Last year Shawn completed 800 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Needless to say he is an inspiration to all of us.
On April 26th at 6:00AM Rob pulled up his mini van with 5 of us to the Southern Terminus. It was a crispy cold morning in the desert with sun about to appear from the mountains.