At mile 106 there is a rock formation that looks exactly like an eagle. It is easy to miss because you can’t see it from the trail, but a quick walk to the other side is definitely worth it.
Warner Springs is a small town at mile 109. The community center there welcomes thru-hiker every year with food and let’s them camp out on their lawn. From there it is about 70 miles to a small town called Idlewild. During this 70 mile stretch I was able to hike with two guys from Israel. Both men had just gotten out of their required service in the armed forces and were on their celebratory vacation. By talking to them I was able to learn a lot about what it is like to live in Israel and a lot about the struggles they face as a country. A very interesting aspect of the trail is the diversity of people.
It is rare you feel like a minority in your own country but on the trail that seems to be the case. There are tons of people from Germany, Italy, Israel, Canada, and all over Europe. Talking to all the people has really given me insight into worlds I’ve never known about. After eating one of the best burgers of my life at Paradise Valley Cafe, I split up with them and headed back to the trail to hike the last 12 miles before the trail closes for a small section due to fire damage. Most people skip this 12 mile stretch in addition to the closer and hitch directly to Idlewild, but I figure I have the time so I chose to do it.
After the trail closed I took a side trail that led me all the way to Idlewild. In this small town I found a hostel type place that gives you a bunk and shower for $25 so I figured I’d sleep in a bed for a change. Tomorrow I will climb the San Jacinto Mt. My biggest test thus far. -Noel Nelson
Yesterday was the hottest day on the trail this far. Temperatures reached 100 while the section I was hiking and had zero shade.
After a brutal 20 miles, I got into camp right as it was getting dark. Ramen soup is good, but after eating it for a week I was not looking forward to dinner. Right at that point a trail angel showed up with a grill, steak, chicken, and vegetables. The trail angel was there to bring food to two of her friends hiking the trail, but there was extra so I was invited to join. I don’t know if food has ever tasted so good.
Yesterday evening I passed the hundred mile mark. Generally a hundred mile backpacking trip is a long trip, but for me, passing this marker only made me realize how long of a trail this is. That may seem pessimistic but it’s the opposite. This first stretch has been incredible and I can’t wait to tackle the next twenty five hundred mile stretch.
After camping in “the Boulders”, a beautiful campsite on top of a peak, the trail slowly descended 3,000 into a hot, dry desert floor. The long walk seemed to never end and water was nowhere to be found. After almost running out, I finally reached highway 78 and I was able to do my first hitch. In about 5 minutes of sticking my thumb out a girl stopped to pick up my new hiking partner Will and me. We were driven into the town of Julian and punished a burger. After taking a shower at an RV park it was back on the trail, covering a 10 mile dry stretch during sunset. Tomorrow I will pass mile 100. Even though I’ve only been out here a few days, it feels like months (in a good way). -Noel Nelson
Ok.. Been getting lots of calls today about Noel’s map.. He’s fine.. I think he just forgot to turn on his satellite GPS beacon this morning.. The map is officially updating again!
- Philip (Noel’s Dad) and website babysitter
I originally planned to make it to Mt Laguna (mile 43) on the end of my fourth day, but I have been going faster than expected. I strolled in this morning around 8:45 am. Even though it is a small town, there is an outdoors store here that is famous for their “shakedown”. For most people this is necessary and they lose lots of pack weight. For me, it was only annoying and they tried to sell me on every single thing they had in stock. I plan to spend some time here and take off this afternoon for some cooler hiking. All in all, the trail is great so far.
The day started when I left for the airport at 4am. After saying goodbye to my family, I was off on my own. I arrived in San Diego at 9 am and was picked up by a trail angel named Rob. Rob was amazing and drove me straight to the start of the trail. The start of the trail is very hot and dry but the people were plentiful and everyone was very cool. I finished the first day having gone 15 miles and camped with about 30 people.
Stay tuned for more to come! -Noel Nelson
At 5:55am today, Noel departed San Antonio for San Diego so he could begin his 2,600 mile quest on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Less than 24 hours until the adventure begins