May 23, 2008 Hello From the Pacific Coast Trail By Steve Cozza
Steve Cozza and his hiking partner Sylvia are hiking the Pacfic Coast Trail to raise money & awareness for HFHMGC. The pair plan on sending out email updates when they can of their journey.
May 12, 2008
Well here we go again. Four years after hiking the Applachian Trail in 2004, my hiking partner, Sylvia, & I began our hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in support of Habitat for Humanity in Biloxi & New Orleans.
On April 18 Sylvia's friends, Jim & Karen drove us from Phoenix AZ to Campo CA where the PCT starts. It was a five hour trip & all kinds of things go through your mind during the drive. Can we do this? Are we mentally & physically prepared for is ahead? But I was also thinking some more mundane things, such as "I could be sleeping in a nice warm bed", or "watching tv with my girlfriend". But all these are just fleeting thoughts. When we reached our destination in Campo, took a few pictures of the beginning of this journey & bid farewell to Jim & Karen and finally started to hike those thoughts were replaced with the job that lay ahead.
That first day we only hiked about 4 miles or so before setting up camp under a full moon. The next morning several illegal aliens passed by our campsite with a nod & a hello. The next morning we saw probably another 25 or so passing by in the early morning.
The first week was really painful, especially with blisters. Pretty typical when you first start a hike.
So far the elevation has been between 1000 & 6000 ft. Our mornings start out cool & the day heats up pretty quickly. The winds have been something else. They have been blowing up to 40mph during the day, but at night we hardly get even a breeze. Which I guess is a good thing, especially in the mountains where it really cools off once the sun goes down.
So far we have seen coyotes, snakes, bears, etc. and a lot of beautiful wildflowers & cactus. The towns we have passed through (Mt Laguna, Warner Springs, Idylwild) have been very friendly hiker towns & Warner Springs had some wonderful hot springs to take a dip & ease our sore muscles.
Because of wildfires we were forced to leave the trail near Idylwild where we stayed for a couple of days until the Forestry Dept gave us the ok to access the trail further on down as the fires were still burning, although not as bad. We used our time in town to fill our bellies, buy food & supplies for our packs, and get to know some fellow hikers. Water is our biggest need at all times. Unlike the AT this trail passes through quite a bit of desert at times and running out of water with a couple of days still to hike to get more is not a good option.
We are headed to Big Bear City which is a 5-6 day hike from Idylwild. The nights are pretty cold & I can't seem to get warm enough. Breaking the zipper in my sleeping bag didn't help, but I can't get it fixed until we hit town. Fortunately we had a couple of good hiking days & reached Big Bear City. The promise of a warm shower & good food & clean clothes makes our day much brighter! So far we have come 265 hot, windy & cold miles. We have seen lots of beautiful scenery, wildlife, flowers & met some really nice people along the way.
May 9: we are heading to Wrightwood, CA next. That's our next postal drop/pickup.
Remember to send your donations to Habitat For Humanity at www.hfhmgc.org and please mark your donation "For PCT HIke for Habitat for Humanity".
That's all till next time!
Southern Man (aka Steve)
PS: I was late sending this out & have some more news. Sylvia has hurt her ankle on the trail & It doesn't seem to be responding to anything she is doing for it right now. Because of this she is going to get a ride into Wrightwood & try to see a doctor to make sure it is nothing more than a sprained ankle. This may require her to stay off the trail for a few days, but when I get into Wrightwood I will know more.
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