Mile reached: 42.0 (+22.0)
High: Sharing some beers after a long day
Low: Trek is starting with much bigger mileages than planned
Weenie Shrewd friend that skipped first 26 mi: 1
The day started with most of us eager for the sun to come up. It had dropped below freezing overnight and all our bags and clothes were covered in quickly melting frost. The AZDPCTKO crew graciously provided us with breakfast, and I darted off to meet JD at a campground 6 mi away.
The morning was beautiful and cool with little elevation gain as it meandered through meadows and oaks. Before long I was at Boulder Oaks, where JD showed up a few minutes later.
Part of the reason JD joined me was to be an anchor to help keep me from going too fast too early. However, he promptly expressed that he wanted to go all the way to Burnt Rancheria, which was 15 miles away. This would mean two back to back 20 mile days, and I had done 20 miles the first day just to meet him. I caved and he was now having the exact opposite effect we had planned.
We plodded along and quickly crossed under I-8, the first of eight interstate crossings. (I’ll take whatever milestones I can get.) The rest of the day was a gradual climb gaining 3,500 ft. The sun was hot and chaparral dominated the landscape. Eventually, we could see pine trees in the distance, and finally reaching the first one was encouraging.
We reached the campground in the early evening and scored a campsite near the entrance. There was a little restaurant out front with beer, passable food, and a live band. Lots of energy and lots of thru-hikers. The evening ended with a brief campfire, but we were both in our bags before hiker midnight (9 pm).