18th April 14 miles
Southern Terminus (0.0) to 1st Water Cache (14.0)
Sleep did not come easy last night. I think nerves got the better of me. I was awake many time prior to the alarm call at 5.30am. I shared a hotel room with my old PCT hiking buddy Spontaneous. That’s not his real name but his trail name. Throughout the next 5 months or so you will rarely know anybody’s real name. On the trail I am known as Shepherd.
At 6am my other old PCT hiking buddy Crunchmaster arrived to pick us up. His father Tom and Step Mother Trina were here to see Crunchmaster off on his journey. So we headed down to the southern terminus together.
On route we cached a gallon of water each at two locations near the road. The water caches would save us from carrying a crazy load of water in the first few days of our hike.
The road was rough and slow in places as we approached the Mexico border. There were mountain ranges but the trail was flat. By 10.30am we arrived at the Mexican border. Another Aussie hiker Cam aka Swami was there. We met up several months ago in a random canteena in Mexico. He wasn’t hiking the trail, just down for the ride.
At 11am Spontaneous, Crunchmaster and myself said our farewells to Tom and Trina. We were on our way to Mexico. It wasn’t a hot day, though the sun was bright. For the first two miles we followed cow trail and intermittent footprints.
After two miles of easy hiking we received our first trail magic. Those two glorious words all thru hikers know and love. Trail Magic is the gifts that are given to hikers when on trail. Usually food or drink. The turkey, lettuce and mustard sandwich was perfect.
We said goodbye again to Tom and Trina who surprised us with lunch. Crunchmaster didn’t even know it was going to happen. For the next couple of hours the trail was fairly easy. No navigation problems. No hills. And no shade.
Today was a busy day for the CDT. Possibly one of the busiest on record. We passed 5 hikers from the warrior hikers. And another group of 6 and another guy solo. That’s a total of 15 hikers. That’s more hikers than I saw on the first day of the PCT last year.
Wildlife was lacking. Cows, some lizards, a few birds and some insects out doing their thing on the sweet smelling desert flowers.
By 5pm we arrived at the water cache. I ran out of water 3 miles earlier. Timed it just right. 2.5 liters for 14 miles. After chugging some water I promptly cooked up a meal. The other hikers arrived. Over the next couple of hours we swapped stories. Mainly about how boring and lacklustre the first day was.
By 8pm was tucked in my sleeping bag. I slept out under the stars while the others chose to set up their tents. Day 1 on the CDT was easier than we all thought. No pain, no injuries. Let hope it’s like that in the morning.