It's been a great hike so far, with unexpected weather conditions. Driving out of San Diego, a few minutes after leaving the palm trees, a car ahead of us lost control in the snow!! Four carloads of hikers met at the monument marking the southern terminus, and soon we all headed north. It wasn't long until a cold rain was falling, which later turned to sleet, enough to make the ground white. It rained much of the time over the next two days. Rather than the baking heat and lack of water we expected, my hands were so cold it was hard to open the guidebook, and every little drainage had a running brook!
The PCT kick-off gathering had hundreds of people, and it was fun to meet so many hikers including many well-known names. It was freezing hard at night, and there were some chilly people who had planned more for the heat than the cold and wet. I'm actually pretty well geared up with a rain jacket, balaclava, and warm down jacket.
The miles have been remarkably easy, with a sensibly graded trail and good footing. The landscape has varied from desert to Ponderosa pines and cedars in the snow. A couple of days ago there was a mountainside covered with so many species of cactus (cacti,) many blooming, that it looked like a botanical garden. Someone said there might be the most snow in southern CA in PC history, and someone else said there were streams running that they've never seen before. People have been really nice. Today, total strangers were camped at a spring where hikers get water, and gave us coffee and bagels for breakfast. Even better yet, they gave us chili dogs and cold drinks last night!
I want to go soak in the hot springs and other hikers are waiting for the computer, so I'm going to run. I'll post more when I get the chance.