pulling into lake morena state park, well let me back up a moment, we reached the town of julian which is about an hours drive from there, it was snowing and cold.  we felt bad for any hikers who might be out on the trail and had other thoughts about how this might be the first kick off on record that got rained out and of course it would be the one that we drove so far to get to.

ok, we pull into the state park and i'm thinking that people have been waiting for us, we'll get some kind of award for driving so far, we'll get attention for having the vw van and, well, none of that happened.  we were told to pull over, check in at the registration booth and then go to our campsite.  barely a hello, we did get our free pink pct bandanas though.

realization #
just because you plan to hike a 2650 mile trail and show up to the pep rally for it, doesn't mean relationships naturally happen.  i told myself as we pulled up, you will get out of this, what you put into it.  i've told students that on trips hundreds of times and its really true.  sometimes it felt like church, all of these people, but you don't really know anyone and that makes for awkward situations.  there were numerous times that i would say hi to someone as i walked by and they didn't even respond.  odd.  maybe its because we drove up in a vehicle and parked with other 2010 hikers who were staying in tents and tarps, maybe they knew we were southbounders and didn't want to put too much effort into us?

then enter our campsite mates and new friends.  they introduced themselves as tradja and bearbait.  we instantly hit it off, they were another couple that were hiking the trail this year and we found out they had hiked the cdt (continental divide trail) together also, so we could definitely learn a few things from them.  they were a pleasure to hang out with and we even got to drop them off at the border on sunday morning with the hope of seeing them again in southern oregon.

part of our time there felt like we were seeing celebrities from the pct movies.  we tried not to be too star struck, but it was hard at times.  i felt like i needed to personally say thanks to squatch for the walk series and to yogi for the pct handbook.  it was really fun to watch the films that were made and to see the nat geo documentary, the helicopter shots were absolutely breathtaking.

overall it was a good experience and we are really glad that we went down and even more glad that the van made it.  the time went by way too quickly.  we also helped volunteer with a couple of meals, which we highly recommend, its a great chance to get to know people and if you help serve the meal, you get a chance to see a bunch of new faces.  we joked around about making a video for next years kick off all about volunteering to help with meals, it could be pretty funny.

now, we've just got to get back to washington...

-jason


 


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