Well, after months of planning, here we are at Scout & Frodo's house after the flight from Oakland. The first trail angels of the trip, they pick up hikers from the airport, host them at their house, and provide rides to the border as hikers begin their trek.
Today was insane - one of those days that feels it's lasted a lifetime. I barely remember this morning. My Mom came over to pick up some of my unused backpacking stuff and say bye, and then the rest of the day was spent packing, cleaning, and taking care of all the pesky last minute items that have been hanging out on the to-do list for too long (WHY didn't I complete my PCT-playlist before today?!) Naturally, the day was way busier and more hectic than it should have been, and I realize now it was silly of me to think it would be any different. In the time leading up to today, I'd had daydreams about popping open a nice bottle of champagne and enjoying it before heading to the airport. Wrong! Running around the house, throwing my final pack together at the absolute last minute, already behind schedule for the departure to Oakland airport, I honestly felt like I was going to pass out a few times from the combination of stress and nerves. Luckily, made it to the airport on time, hopped on the plane, and had a really beautiful ascent out of the Bay Area - the last views of home for some time!
Waiting outside the airport for Scout & Frodo, Brett and I both admitted we were apprehensive about what's to come. The look in his eyes seemed to match my level of "what the hell are we doing/why have we gotten ourselves into this?"We chatted a little about the fears of getting out there and hating it...realizing after a few days this isn't what we bargained for. Sounds weird, but that made me feel a lot better. It was nice to know I'm not the only one freaking out a little about this. I'm fairly confident this will be the journey of a lifetime, but the truth is you never really know until you get out there and actually hike. Mostly it's just nerves, so I'm anxious to hit the trail!
And lo, here I am in San Diego! Scout & Frodo are simply awesome people - they've made me feel right at home here, and given my current level of stress, that's no easy feat! They are incredibly generous people, and host a mind boggling number of hikers each year at their home. They've got it down to something of a science. Apparently next week they'll have nights with more than 50 people staying! There's 8 of us here tonight, a relatively quiet night. When we got here, Scout took us on a tour of the house, and told us to all help ourselves to anything. The kitchen is stocked with fruits and snacks, there's a hiker box full of supplies, and their entire garage has been converted to a prep/staging area, with extra fuel, hiker clothes, and any other last minute items you could possibly think of. They'll feed us breakfast before we all head out for the trail tomorrow morning. Pretty awesome folks, indeed. If I'm ever at a point in my life where I can, I'd love to help hikers out even just a tiny bit as much as Scout & Frodo do each year.
I didn't expect to be the only girl here tonight, but it looks that way right now. There's 3 German guys who are also starting tomorrow (arrived in the states just yesterday...I can't even fathom the logistics of putting this together from abroad!), a guy named Chris also from the Bay Area, and someone who arrived when I did named Kit. I wonder if any of them will become my hiking pals! As of writing, it's 9:40pm, and cars leave for the 90 minute journey to the border tomorrow at 5:45am, which means I have 8 hours until the dream of the past 6+ years becomes the start of reality. That's it for now...next time I write is from the trail!