Brutal Start

This is my third night on the Pacific Crest Trail(PCT). I am around mile 59 or close to that. I have the worst blisters I’ve ever had(around 10 blisters and a foot rash caused by heat). Every step is painful, but it’s no use worrying about that kind of stuff. Not that it shouldn’t be ignored. I just avoid labeling the situation, that would just make it worse since I have about 40 miles to do before I reach a resting place.

On the upside, I met wonderful people. Among them, two hikers. First we have triple Crowner[1] “don’t panic” and another guy who completed the Eastern Scenic Trail(ECT), “Chezwick”[2]. A day into the hike, Chezwick offered to perform “surgery” on my feet. By that, I mean we wrapped duct tape on my feet to cover the blisters. About 30 miles later I changed shoes[2]. I was lucky, there happened to be an outfitters store about 1 mile off-trail. If it wasn’t for the abnormally cool temperatures that occurred in southern California, I would have probably caused a lot more damage to my feet. I’m a real newbie when it comes to long distance hiking. From setting up camp, to filtering and finding water sources, buying the right food supplies, even basic hygiene has gotten a whole new meaning… Nothing is ever done for you. It shouldn’t be a surprise that after 12 hours of hiking a day, it is up to the hiker to set up his tent and all the supporting items before calling it a day. I’m slowly learning to become self-reliant. No one and I repeat, no one will hike those miles for you. Hospitality can only go so far.

Among some other encounters, I met an Indian man in his 70s named Nal, he was carrying a huge backpack, we shared Indian good and he inspired me to keep on going. I also met other Canadians from Vancouver & Toronto.

After meeting Nal, we went ahead to a picnic area near desert view trail. The only water source was a horse cache. It was filthy. We found out later that it was also empty(other hikers had used it up). Since water is pretty disparate in this section, we were in a bad predicament. The maps we used told us of another water source, but it was 10 miles away! End of day was approaching so we ended up sharing meals with Nal and other hikers since we all had a little bit of water left.

The worst news though was that my shipment at the resting area is closed on Sunday and also closes early on Saturday. This is our resupply location so we don’t want to spend an extra day waiting for the PO to open up. it would screw up our planning. To give you an idea, that means we needed to sprint through the desert and cover about 50 miles in two days. Let’s do our best.

Til’ next time.

For pictures, please take a look at my Instagram account. I have a lot more to talk about, but time is of the essence right now. I hope these entries are consistent enough as the process of blogging on a thru-hike has provided it’s own set of challenges.

[1] A triple crowner is someone who completed three major thru-hikes.
[2] These nicknames are called “hiker names”. They are a handle that a hiker gets and uses during his hiking. They are often associated with something that has either happened to them or represents them.

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