Jacob Leistra / "Game Boy" / PCT 2019

Day 0: Scout, Frodo, and San Diego

It’s 12:30 in the afternoon and I’m waiting for a minivan with a yellow pom-pom, the sign of Scout and Frodo’s shuttle to their home. An hour or so later I’m on my way after being picked up by The Rainbow, a rad hiker who volunteered at Scout and Frodo’s before continuing her PCT journey in Wrightwood.

The house is a hiker paradise. There are close to ten tents outside, each loaded with power outlets, all nestled on artificial grass. This is about as good of a launching spot as I can imagine. I’m told we’re going to “the outfitters” for dinner and shopping this evening. I have everything I need, but I’m eager to people in my shoes.

The “outfitters” turn out to be Adventure 16, a local gear store that puts REI to shame in customer service and hospitality. Scout and Frodo brought us to A16 for the 2019 PCT Rendezvous, an event to celebrate the trail and foster community in the already bustling community that Scout and Frodo have fostered. I’m gorging myself on Costco pizza (hey, I’m really not far from home after all!) and Sierra Nevada brews. The day is getting better, unbelievably enough.

Before we watch some short films of PCT hiking and trail angels, I continue draining beers and meeting fellow hikers. There’s someone from Idrsely, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, and several states in the US. They’re all awesome people and just as excited as me to get hiking soon. But we soon leave for Scout and Frodo’s to get some rest.

Tonight I’m camping in a roomy Big Agnes tent. The view from the backyard is cloudy, bit there are bees buzzing in the flowers, and flowers are in full bloom. Tomorrow I’m on the trail, attempting to cowbow camp (under the stars) each night I can. The forecast is showing thunderstorms for Saturday and Sunday. In other words, the adventure begins.

Also, I wrote this post (save for this sentence) in the present tense. That seems weird. Maybe it’ll be past tense next time.

Photo: The gathering of PCT hikers, trail angels, and PCT Association supporters surround Scout and Frodo as they tell stories. San Diego, CA on May 9, 2019.