Although I had planned on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for almost two years, I had researched precisely zero in terms of logistics. That is to say, even when I set foot on the border of Mexico in California, I still had no idea where I would be sleeping that night. The truth is, I did not feel that this was necessary as long as I was sure there was enough water in my backpack.
Hiking Campo to Lake Morena
In case you might be asking yourself, I hiked just four miles on my first day and camped next to what looked like an abandoned railway. There was also a shallow creek here so I refilled my seven liters of water and settled in for a quiet night. It was late in the afternoon so only one of two hikers passed at this time and none of them seemed interested in camping after just four miles!
Needless to say, day one was extremely leisurely but there was a rather lengthy climb from where I had camped for the night. One thing I assumed about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is that there would be climbs so there were no surprises in this respect.
Meeting Fellow Hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail
My first encounter was with an elderly lady named Linda. She was travelling extremely slow and had little to say in our first meeting so I continued onward. However, I soon caught up with a Canadian, Lyle, who was sitting in the shade and when I stopped to enjoy a snack with him, Linda joined us for a chat. It was nice to meet fellow hikers on the PCT – I had concerns about there being too many people on the trail but ended up finding this a comfort rather than a hinderence of any kind.
Rattlesnakes on the PCT
I had wondered if I would see any rattlesnakes on the PCT and in hindsight, this was quite a stupid question. After all, I saw four on only my second morning. Ironically, the first of these was immense and looked like an actual dinosaur when I approached it crossing the trail just ten feet ahead. As I moved closer to take a picture, the rattle sounded and this was more than enough to stay well clear. Shortly after, I needed to jump over a rock next to a cliff side to avoid walking past quite an angry and smaller version but this was more than enough experience to know there are many rattlesnakes in the Mohave.
Water Between Campo and Lake Morena
I gave Lyle a little bit of my water on this day but overall, I was very shocked to find that so many hikers brought so little water. As a rule, I think hikers should carry at least 7 liters and drink as much as possible enroute. Further, you should expect a steep descent into Hauser Creek and an extremely ascent back up the other side. Either way, this is quite a grueling day and I was glad to shave off those four miles the previous day.
You Can Watch a Video of my First Day Below: