Friday, April 4, 2014
D-day at last! We arose before the sun—and discovered a layer of ice over everything. So much for warm and sunny California. The temperature had dropped into the 20’s overnight, so we were glad we’d packed blankets for the horses (and so were they). After breakfast, we loaded Takoda into the trailer and headed south to the trail terminus outside of Campo, which was about half an hour’s drive from our campground. The reality of being so close to the border was reinforced by the constant presence of border patrol vehicles, which we saw everywhere, as well as helicopters at times overhead; in fact, a border patrol truck followed us down the dirt road to the trail head. We unloaded, saddled up, took the obligatory photos, and then Takoda and I were off—my first day’s ride on the PCT!
In my day pack I had maps, cell phone, satellite communicator, water, and lunch. Takoda and I were headed to Lake Morena, about 20 miles away. The plan was to meet my mom at the lake where I would switch out Takoda for Shyla, and finish the last 6 miles to Boulder Oaks on Shyla. I started a little after 8 a.m., had lunch around mile 15, and arrived at Lake Morena around 2pm. Takoda and Shyla were so excited to see each other and I’m sure the horse dialog was something like “imagine that—you!—here!—in the middle of nowhere!” Then I took off on Shyla and we rode the remaining 6 miles to the campground, arriving before 4 pm.
So I made good time for the first day on the trail and the horses seemed to take it all in stride. My dad and stepmom, Nancy, had driven down to be there with me at the beginning, so we all had and early dinner around a campfire, and then we tucked the horses (and ourselves!) into bed by 8pm.