2 Days In, Forced off Trail

Driving through Southern California was a dream. I’d been waiting for 7 months to drive passed the scorched hills, boulders and mountain tops on the way to Campo, California where the Cali/Mexican border stood; where my first steps of the Pacific Crest Trail would take place. McDonalds breakfast in my stomach, we finally got to the border at around 1:00pm in the afternoon. There’s no doubt that that was only the second time I felt nervous about the whole trip. The entire 7 months prior, the only feeling I had toward my hike was excitement. Up until the week before, I hadn’t felt those butterflies that everyone asked about..

     “Aren’t you nervous?”, “Aren’t you scared?”

     All I could do was be honest, and say no.. But if someone had approached those last few days, I would lived up to that recurring question.

     So after filling up our water at the border, taking necessary pictures and saying our goodbyes to Spencer’s parents, we began our trek. After 10 minutes of walking, we realize we might be going the wrong way. So we pull out our map, and I pull out my guide, and it seems that yes, we are already “lost”. After a few minutes of frustration, and blaming one another for the careless mistake, we figure out our way and it turns out we had just taken our first detour! Unofficial detour, but detour none the less. After about 4 hours of hiking, it begins to get dark and my knee that I had previously hurt is starting to flare up big time. We’re both super hungry and decide to call it a day at the next make-do campsite we find available.

     Waking up the next day was hard, I was still super tired from the day before and we had slept in far longer than excpected. By the time we packed our bags, the day was already hot. Almost immediately my knee was in a lot of pain. As the day continued, it got worse and I questioned in my head how I was going to conitnue hiking if the pain persisted. An hour or so later after lunch, we were hiking down a very gradual slope, and I took my eyes off the trail for a couple seconds and doing so, I rolled my foot in a small hole in the trail and fell to the ground. A few months before the trip, I cracked a bone in my foot and rolling in that hole with a heavy backpack did NOT feel good. It felt like a problem, actually. Spencer gave me his ankle brace and some painkillers and I was able to make it to Lake Morena where our first “water source” was located. We had made it 20 miles. We had already met some interesting people, and I was starting to actually get excited about this hike. Now that I had begun, I had a feel for what lay ahead of me. We made our dinner which was well deserved. My foot was hurting.. but I didn’t want to make a deal out of it. I didn’t want to wimp out the second day..

     Waking up in the morning, I knew first thing my foot was having issues. It hurt just to move. I tried getting up and walking to the picnic table where out cooking gear was located. Just from limping a good 10-15 feet I knew that I couldn’t hike. Saying it outloud was hard, and brought tears to my eyes. I felt so stupid for having rolled it in the first place by not looking where I was going, I felt embarassed for having to stop 20 miles in, but I had to care for my body if I did want to continue hiking at some point. My hiking partner selflessly decided he would come off trail with me, and wait out my foot problem which ended up taking a month.

     Spencer’s parent’s who drove us to the border were thankfully were still in LA visiting their other son and were able to pick us up and take us back to San Jose. That month of no work, and not being able to do much of anything because of my foot, was awful. I felt so depressed. My mind and body KNEW I was supposed to be hiking. I was missing out on a large portion of what I planed to THRU hike. I knew I wouldn’t be able hike that section this time around and would have to skip ahead to where I would have been if nothing had happened and we had been able to continue our trip normally.

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