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Riding the first 40 miles of the PCT

I had a week+ of free time on my hands and a good weather forecast for SoCal, so I decided to do some horse camping down south and ride as much of the PCT as time and snow conditions allowed.

Gracie and I spent our first several days doing day rides out of Campo CLEEF, an equestrian facility within “spittin’ distance” (as my grandmother would say) of the southern terminus. Of course, there was the obligatory picture at the monument.

Trump’s new border wall is visible in the background. (This section of wall used to be a solid 12-foot concrete barrier.) There is a Border Patrol station in Campo, so this section sees a lot of Border Patrol traffic along the road bordering the wall.

From a distance, the wall totally changes vistas. Because it is not solid, you can sometimes sees odd light patterns that it creates.

Electronic surveillance is everywhere.

Anyway, off we went on our first foray from the southern terminus. Here’s the obligatory picture of the first milepost.

A few miles in, we passed another sign signifying the distance in each direction. I couldn’t help sending friends a bunch of texts that we were going for broke, and there was only 2,647 miles to go.

We did the first ten miles as an out and back, then moved to Boulder Oaks as our base camp for the next 30 miles.

The only federally-designated wilderness in this section is Hauser Wilderness. The PCT goes through a tiny corner of it.

Looking back at it from the south side of Hauser Canyon, the beautiful view is marred by two giant power lines that run along the wilderness area’s southern boundary.

Part of this route is (still) used by undocumented immigrants, as shown by the sign and water cache.

We continued day rides near Lake Morena

and up to the Lagunas. Snow lingering on the trail from a storm last week kept us from continuing on.

Still Here (a poem for the year after 2020)

As I pondered what theme I would adopt for my hiker oasis in 2021 in the waning days of December 2020, I decided to deviate from my usual pattern of using the theme to celebrate something that would happen in that upcoming year and opted instead to use this opportunity to reflect on the year just passed. For many, 2020 was a monumental year, and I thought a suggestion to consider something positive that may have come to them during that year would be appreciated. I penned a new poem for the new year, and added it to my little free library for hikers to take. Here it is.

New hiker oasis theme for 2021: Still Here

On New Year’s Day, I re-themed my hiker oasis for 2021. The new theme is “Still Here.”

The prompt of my hiker register for 2021 reflects back on the preceding monumental year and asks: What did you learn in 2020?

I explain the prompt

and offer the first entry

For the first time ever, I also wrote an original work to be shared with hikers for the year: Still Here (a poem for the year after 2020). Copies of the poem were added to my little free library for hikers to take.