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Day 2: Pink Blazing

Day 2: Pink Blazing

hiker.dykes Apr 24th, 2024
hiker.dykes's 2024 PCT Thru-Hike

Lake Morena Campground (20.0) - Tentsite (39.5) | Mileage: 19.5

Maddie wrote the title for this day and then never got around to actually writing the entry. So I’m writing this about a week late but probably I still remember most things.

She titled it pink blazing because we spent the entire day looking for women. For some reason all the people we’ve been hiking with and seeing are men. Very sweet, middle aged men, very kind, very funny but by day 2 we’re now at the point where we’re careening along wondering if we will ever find friends that are a) not men and b) our age (we’re considering this a bonus at this point).

Also for reference pink blazing generally refers to men who go along the trail looking for women to hook up with so we’ve re-appropriated the term.

Woke up at 6:30am feeling pretty proud of our early start until we got out of our tent and realized the campsite was 100 percent empty. Apparently early in thru-hiker world is pre-dawn so we stressily attempted and failed to speedily pack up our stuff, and finally hit the trail at hiker noon, i.e. 9:00am. I half-walked, half-jogged in a mostly futile attempt to keep up with Maddie’s aggressive elliptical-on-steroids pole-step-pole-step pace as she alternated between intense silent focus and intense vocal agonization over how we were falling behind our group … everything is a competition, obviously.

Unsurprisingly, our VERY aggressively sub-20 minute mile pace soon saw us passing stragglers, and Maddie started a tally of “people we passed.” I’m sure that’s not your best thru-hiker mentality, but it’s day 2 so oh well, what can we do, as I mentioned, we’re competitive people.

And then. We found a woman!! And our pace of course changed dramatically as we slowed to chat with Cassandra? who of course does marketing at Amazon in Seattle. But alas, we were different speeds and I soon found myself again intermittently jogging to keep up with stressy Maddie pace.

Fast forward about 16 miles wherein nothing notable happened except more of the same desert scenery, speed walking, intermittent chatting about how this feels not-quite-real like a vacation, and hot, hot sun.

Then. We simultaneously met our first friend and caught up to the men we started with at CLEEF (who spoiler alert, also became our friends)!!! Another Madi, 30, from San Diego, hiking our pace, and Mick and Wayne, 40s, from New Zealand, very comical. Finally, apparently relieved of the fear that we were falling behind, our pace slowed and we took a leisurely snack break under a huge tree next to a small stream. Honestly, idyllic and not what I thought of when I thought desert.

We finally strolled ourselves up the last couple hills to our campsite for the night, where magically the desert transformed into a old growth forest with huge oak and pine trees in what felt more like Washington than SoCal. Every other thru-hiker in the world also apparently had the same thought as us that this was the most perfect campsite ever (and also there weren’t any other sites for the next 10 miles) and also they of course woke up pre-dawn and went fewer miles, so the partial clearing was already filled to the brim with tents. We tromped over the crunchy pine needles and scraggly undergrowth, stepping gingerly over fallen logs and spiky bushes in a futile attempt to find an overlooked spot until we at last gave up and pitched our tent on what was most definitely still scraggly brush, fervently hoping that we would not poke holes in our ultra thin ultra expensive tent on day 2.

After yet again struggling to get our tent taut and upright the day ended on a high with us feeling like the cool kids at the popular lunch table (truly a first). We grabbed our pot and dehydrated stuffs and headed over to the actual clearing where Madi’s tent was set up. Within seconds, one thru-hiker after another slowly began emerging from their tents and tentatively asking if they could come sit by us and cook. Soon we had a whole squad hanging out in a circle around us, chatting and laughing and introducing ourselves and soaking up the last of the sun feeling like this is maybe the thru-hiker instant community thing we’d heard so much about.

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