It’s the night before I start the PCT and I still can’t really believe it’s happening.
I’ve had a really nice time getting to San Diego and enjoying the city in a relaxed way. My parents wanted to road trip in their new Van, and I didn’t want to stress about travel, perfect! We drove down to Palomar Mountain State Park for our first night for the inaugural camping trip in the Van. It’s a beautiful park if you’re ever in the area!
The next day we drove into San Diego and stopped by the beach in Solana Beach. It was so hot and the water was so nice to dip my feet in. Time to say goodbye to the ocean! We got amazing tacos at a place called Oscars and then finally went to our hotel to decompress. For some reason we had been driving all day: traffic is crazy down here even though everyone is at Coachella.
We quickly got ready to go see the SF Giants play the Padres. We lost, but the game was fun and it was 75 degrees even at night! Also, Petco Park is super schmancy.
On our last day, we got brunch in La Jolla at The Cottage - a place my mom & I had brunch 8 years ago when we came down to tour UCSD as a prospective student. I couldn’t help but think of how different my life had turned out. If you asked me back then why I would be dining at the same place 8 years later I would have told you it was a study break/ treat from medical school. I hadn’t even heard of the PCT back then! Funny how life works. After brunch we went to Balboa Park and explored the botanical gardens. They were so pretty and we saw such cute ducklings in the pond!
After the park, we went back to the hotel so I could unpack & repack my backpack, double checking I had everything I needed. I also added a couple of toiletries: 2 spare contact lenses, 2 single-use vials of lubricating eye drops, and I swapped a small body lotion for the mom’s stuff: my skin is so dry and lotion is the only thing that helps me mentally deal with that. I double checked that all of my electronics were charged, I moved my snacks for tomorrow into my hip belt pocket, and filled up one more of my water reservoirs. I’ll be carrying 5.7 L of water for the first 20 miles/ 2 days, and I think that will be perfect for me. Finally, I was treated to a nice steak dinner as my final meal. I started getting a little nervous midway through and felt like I was forcing it down a little, but the feeling eventually subsided.
And now I’m laying in a super comfy hotel bed wondering if I’ll ever get a good nights sleep again, while also wondering if soon I will no longer be able to sleep comfortably in a bed. After reading and planning so much I feel like I have over saturated my brain with information about the PCT: campgrounds, water sources, rattlesnakes, towns, gear, but still feel totally unprepared and ignorant about the realities of the trail. I’m so impressed by some people who start the trail with absolutely no backpacking experience. I’m not sure how I would feel if I had never backpacked before.
Despite the uncertainties, I can’t wait to get on the trail. I hope that once I start hiking, I’ll be able to get out of my head a little bit and just finally be able to enjoy this journey. I’m excited to meet the people hiking around me, I’m excited to see the desert in bloom, and I’m excited to travel by my feet, hopefully all the way to Canada.
p.s. I’m writing all of this now on my phone blogging app... so hopefully this will look good on the computer/ your phone! Sorry if not... but there’s nothing I can do about it now! :)