May 1 – Day 1 – Lake Morena Campground Mile 20.0
The ADZPCTKO (Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off) is an event where current through hikers, previous years through hikers and friends of the trail gather to meet each year at Lake Morena. They slack pack the first 20 miles, trade stories, learn from the experts as well as form camaraderie.
Conversely, the NADSPCTKOOO (Not Annual Day Seven PCT Kick Off Of One) is where one bedraggled traveler stood at the terminus of the pct, bracing against a strong Santa Ana wind and wondering what he was doing before walking the 20 miles to Lake Morena and falling into a hastily erected tent in a heap.
Below is a group photo of all the attendees.
I felt pretty good to start but struggled up Morena Butte where the sun was hot and the wind that had kept me cool most of the day was effectively blocked. There was a cache of water at Hauser creek before Morena Butte. I met a gentleman calling himself the “water cache guy” carrying full water bottles into the canyon and then caring empties out. I think this was a funny trick as he would make the easy descent with full bottles and return with empties. Then unsuspecting hikers would be duped loading up their packs with water before making the steep hot ascent up Morena butte. Seriously it’s amazing what people do to help out the hikers and make sure they are safe as many people would be in trouble without that water in that long dry stretch.
I did finally make it to the lake. I was darn tired and too queasy to eat much other than an apple and a Coke from the store there but it was good to make it through day one. There were three of us at the campground, a lot different than the hundreds that were there the week before.