Jacob Leistra / "Game Boy" / PCT 2019

Day 3: The Desert That Was Promised

Mile 45.3 -> Mile 71.2

Remember when I said the desert had been kind to us? The real desert showed up today. It was hot and sunny, and the longer stretches without water started kicking in. Nevertheless, it was a good day.

I distanced myself from other hikers today just to go at my own pace. I got the opportunity to catch up on some podcasts and music, and I got to text my mom for Mother’s Day within a brief window where I had service. Feels like I was back at home! That is, dusty and dry surroundings. Even with the typical desert presence, the wildlife is absolutely teeming here. I (figuratively) counted hundreds of lizards, tens of birds, and a seemingly endless supply of beetles, flies, and butterflies. No rattlesnakes yet, but I’m sure they’re out there. The wildflowers are still in bloom, and cacti are showing their pretty side as well. Today was like walking through a painting of idyllic desert life. Hot, punishing, gorgeous desert life.

Three images of desert views, 1 of plants

Condensation was a huge issue with last night’s campsite, so I’m hoping tonight is better. Having to worry about drying out your stuff mid-hike (not to mention stuffing it in your pack when it’s wet) is a bummer, and not something I’m used to. But I’m learning! Tonight I’m cowboy camping despite some chance of wind during the night. I’ll have all my layers on and I don’t expect to be cold.

I’m doing a lot of thinking out here. Life, goals, regrets, missed opportunities. Not in a negative way, either. I’m just going through the carousel of memories and watching each one as it circles around. It’s bizarrely pleasant how random memories pop into your head when you’re walking all day.

Interesting quote from “I Know I Don’t Know” off Panda Bear’s Buoys album: “Anything goes when joy’s the plan.” I hope I keep this in mind as the trail gets more challenging.

Main Photo: My campspot a few miles away from Scissors Crossing near Julian, CA on May 12.