This is really happening, tomorrow.
After some pre-travel shenanigans we managed to make it to San Diego. (The night before the trip Mom misplaced her hiking clothes and then the day of brought her work ID instead of her drivers license and I managed to leave my baselayer bottoms somewhere between NYC and San Diego).
A short Lyft ride later we arrived at Scout and Frodo's, two San Diego trail angels that allow PCT hopefuls to stay at their house and offer to shuttle them both from the airport to their house as well as from their house to the trailhead in Campo at the Southern Terminus at the crack of dawn for an early start.
It was at Scout and Frodo's place that had our first interaction with other hikers. This began the slow process of calming my nerves about my preparedness for resupply on the trail.
We met Petar, the Bulgarian. He is hoping to be the first Bulgarian to complete the PCT and did some crazy fact-finding to determine that no other Bulgarian has. He is also hiking to raise awareness for a national park back in his home country that is under threat from rezoning that will allow significantly more access for commercial industry. He adopted a pretty laid back approach to planning: With a general idea of where he would stop he misled ahead a couple boxes but is planning to figure it out on the trail.
Also at the angel's home were Lin and Nick, two hikers from Hong Kong. Lin has similar ambitions to document his journey and was rocking some swanky GoPro gear including a fancy stabilizer/handle. I was a bit envious. Lin and Nick seemed much more disciplined in their hike. When I met them they were reorganizing their food in a rather careful manner, and seemed to know he whole trail by heart already.
Dinner time at Scout and Frodo's was a calming experience. Our hosts fed us well and are incredibly generous people. Each year they host hundreds of hikers all on their own buck. They refuse donations instead asking hikers to donate to the PCTA, the organization that maintains the trail of which Scout was a former board member.
After dinner we had "The Talk" where Scout explained the expected behavior of Thru Hikers on the trail, including donating money to trail angels, the proper depth of cat holes, and the importance of packing out our used toilet paper. We asked questions and received answers for other areas of concern as needed. And then we all settled in for the night, with plans to wake early to depart for the trail.
It was at this point, with the cooking temperatures I noticed my missing baselayers. Quickly I ordered a replacement pair on REI and sent them to Mom's boyfriend, David who would bring my first resupply when he picked us up in a week.
I wrapped up in my sleeping quilt and did my best to calm the anxiety and drifted off to sleep. The following day would begin the adventure of a lifetime.