Walking Across San Diego County

(5/13/09) I looked forward to this trip for a while because this was the leg of our epic Pacific Crest Trail journey that we we're going to complete walking across the entire San Diego County. Can you imagine being able to say you've walked across an entire county? I dreamed of doing this for several years now and even posted it on the calendar several times as a single thru hike, but it never quite transpired . I was also excited that several folks in addition to our core PCT thru hikers joined us for this fun backpacking weekend.

The weekend before I scouted a section of the trail and also cached some fine cabernet and firewood at Tule Spring so that we didn't have to carry it in. That weekend I ran into 28 PCT thru hikers who just embarked on their 6 month journey from Mexico to Canada. Every year there is an annual kick-off event at Lake Morena as 350 plus hikers take-off. It was inspiring talking to several of them and even serve as a trail angel by being a resupply shuttle and driving a hiker to the firestation for medical care.

Now that summer was here, I was able to weigh my pack in at 23 lbs which included 3 liters of water. If you're interested how I did it, check out my backpacking checklist page on the Web site. On hot long hikes like this, the low backpack weight really pays off.

This was probably our longest point-to-point shuttle yet, which was about a 50 minute drive, something I've been slowly getting used to from our many PCT shuttles. I could tell from the first few miles of our hike that it was going to be a very warm weekend. I realized that I should have had folks bring more water due to the weather. Fortunately, trail angels have left enough water on the trail to keep us from totally dehydrating.

Several miles into our hike, we heard heavy machinery nearby. We looked down the hillside and noticed tractors clearing out a path. We ran into one of the construction crew and he said they we're blazing a trail. It sounded very fishy. We all suspected that they we're blazing an illegal trail on protected wilderness to connect to the PCT.

When we reached the shoulder of Combs Peak we took a break and enjoyed the amazing view that stretched across Anza Borrego Desert State Park and the mountains to the north. I also pointed off in the distance where we would be exiting the trail which seemed like a hundred miles away. The eyes are so deceiving.

After 20 miles of hiking, we finally reached camp, pretty much out of water. Fortunately, there was lots of water at Tule Spring. We quickly rehydrated and set up camp. We started happy hour, made a camp fire, and I prepared Jambalaya for the group followed with homemade brownies. It was a delightful camp and the weather was great that night. Many folks slept under the stars.

The following day we loaded up on water and continued our journey. Our timing for wildflowers has been perfect over the last few months. We seem to be hiking the trails at the perfect time for wild flower viewing. This trip was no exception. There we're so many beautiful varieties blooming.

My weight loss and workouts have been paying off. I set the pace for the trip, which some said was almost a run. We we're probably averaging 20 minute miles with overnight packs on. We got a little overheated at times due to heat, but everyone on this trip was experienced and athletic.

It was a glorious site when we spotted the road and our cars after reaching Lookout Mountain saddle. And looking longingly past that point towards San Jacinto, I knew the best was yet to come. Congratulations Perfect Pace, for your trek across San Diego County!