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Today I woke at 5:30am and headed out at 6 with my friend Andrew who I was staying with in Julian. It was about an hour drive to the border. It felt so weird to finally be there. I’ve seen the monument for years so to actually touch it and stand at the wall was for real.
I left and within a mile was at a campsite with trail magic. It was a cold morning and I had to stop and put my down jacket on for about a half hour. I started with 2 liters of water since I read Otter’s post earlier this week and he mentioned good water. I forced myself to go very very slow and take frequent breaks. I had a nice break at the first water and aired my feet out. I’m getting some hot spots on them which is odd since I never got a blister on the AT.
It went from cold to very hot within an hour but the breeze felt beautiful. It was cool and gentle and it made the hiking easy. I’d picked up 5 liters at the the first water source so my pack was very heavy but I didn’t mind. I was planning on using that water for the rest of the way to Morena which I didn’t plan to get to till tomorrow. I met probably 8 hikers which was far less than I thought I would.
I opened this app a few hours in and say “Day 1” and screenshotted it. I felt proud. I had an idea and I worked so hard and I did it. The app works well and I’ll be able to document my entire hike. What a cool feeling this is.
I took a break in the shade and met a hiker named Emily or “You Tell Me”. We chatted for a few while we had some snacks. After the break I slowly headed up the second part of the very minor climb we had. I’d been paranoid all day about rattlesnakes hiding in every nook and cranny despite having seen many while hiking before and knowing they do a good job of warning me of their presence. Nonetheless, I rounded a large boulder and heard the classic rattle and buzz and I must’ve jumped 10 feet as I saw a small black and tan rattlesnake coil up under the boulder. The rock had a crack so it was somewhat hollow and echoed very loudly. I moved on and knelt down to take fix what felt like a stick in my shoe and a tarantula hawk landed right in front of me. I was freaked out for a few minutes.
Not long after this I heard a yell and I came upon a woman laying on the trail. I asked if she was okay and she told me she’d fallen and I offered my help to her. She told me she was quitting and hiked southbound.
The rest of the day was beautiful. Hot sun but a cool breeze. I went very slow. I planned to only do 12 but after seeing how easy it was I decided on Hauser Creek and ended up doing 15.4. There were a handful of guys here and we all hung out and chatted as we ate lunch. Tomorrow I’ll likely do 13 or 14. I feel very healthy and free of injuries. So I’m off to a good start.