And, we’re off!

Life is full of choices.

We’re finally on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), after years of reading about it and researching gear and logistics, we are soaking in this awesome beauty. We deviated slightly from our original plans by starting two days early, on Alyssa’s birthday June 11th, and also starting eight miles south as a nice guy named Rick gave us a ride to a convenient trailhead out of Burney, CA. So yes, we are double rebels.

Gorgeous waterfalls at Burney Falls State Park

The terrain here on the PCT is starting off to be much milder to what we encountered on the Appalachian Trail (AT). Instead of constant roots and rocks to trip you up, the paths here are gently sloping and usually covered by soft pine needles. It feels like hiking on carpet and we can actually look around a bit while walking to enjoy the views. If you took your eyes off the immediate few feet in front of you on the AT, you’re kicking something hard or falling on your butt.

You can actually see the sky on the PCT

The first week or two is always the toughest with these kinds of hikes. Your body truly thinks you are punishing it, so it rebels. Even with this easier terrain, after many miles with a backpack on, your feet always hurt, calves and thighs tighten up and shoulders and lower back ache. Fortunately, my problem right ankle that I rolled several months ago is holding on, in fact both ankles hurt equally, sharing the pain as ankle brothers should.

The jewel of Northern California, Mt. Shasta
Luckily we don’t have to go over this 14,000+’ mountain

The days are pleasant and cool, perfect for hiking. We were a bit worried at the start as a heat dome was over the west and city temps were in the 90’s and above. Thankfully for us the heat moved eastward. But the nights are bitter cold, down in the 40’s and 30’s! We huddle as best we can in our hammocks wearing every stitch of clothing we have, but it’s still chilly. Part of the experience, right?

The PCT path is pretty easy to follow
A sliver of a path on a mountain

All in all, it’s very delightful out here. We’ve had some rain and cold nights, but the near solitude and quiet beauty is intoxicating. We hiked about 90 miles in our first week, averaging around 12 miles a day, before getting to a little town called Mt. Shasta for a few nights to help our bodies heal and do a few chores and gear swaps. Looking forward to the next section, though we’ve heard from other section hikers that we may see more snow ahead. We get to buy snow spikes for our shoes after all.

Our Florida app didn’t know what this cold, white stuff was.
“ I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. “ H.D. Thoreau

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