Pacific Crest Trail (2019) 1: It’s Legal Tender

Friday, March 15, 2019 – 11.10 miles

I was planning to take the bus from El Cajon to Campo ($5) this morning, but ended up getting a ride thus: when I was checking out of the motel, a man approached, asked whether I was a PCT hiker and mentioned that he was driving his brother-in-law to the trailhead. Since I was starting to worry about missing my bus, I asked whether I could come along and received an answer in the affirmative.

When I asked the desk clerk to exchange my remaining dollar coins for paper dollars, HE WAS SUSPICIOUS AND WOULD NOT DO IT (except for one coin; he was willing to lose $1). He said that he had never seen dollar coins before and the cash register ‘had no slot for them’. All cash-handling Americans should read this article. It’s legal tender. It really is.

In the parking lot I met the brother-in-law, nicknamed (not trail named) 5150, and several other family members who had come along to see him off. In their vehicle, 5150 told a story about how when he growing up, he kept having bad reactions to poison oak on his parents’ property until they began feeding him milk from goats that had grazed on the plants. The reactions then stopped. Interesting!

With the help of GOD (typo, I meant GPS) we found the southern terminus and were able to drive right up to the monument. And so it begins, in a terrible wind.

The border wall is somewhat unsightly.

Today’s scenery was different from what I was expecting, but won me over eventually.


I saw one border patrol car lurking on the other side of a road and lots of hikers, many multiple times.


This is definitely PCT south, with hikers doing low miles at normal-person paces. One of those I met stopped for the day at 2:30. Yas queen. 


I made camp after eleven miles or so. The site isn’t established but shows evidence of people having visited. The wind has died away but my tent mysteriously shuddered twice just now – I’ve decided to believe the cause was a squirrel.

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