Friday, April 11, 2014

Day 2. Botany and Border Patrol

17 miles
15 to 32

During the morning climb out of Hauser Canyon, Susan and I decided to make up fanciful names for all the flowers. We were getting frustrated not knowing the real names for all these unfamiliar plant since we are we are biologists from the southeast. The names we came up with all sounded like food we wished we could be eating: cantaloupe sorbet (for the orange mimulus), purple peach smoothie (a hairy lupine), muscadine polenta (nightshade), borscht (purple lathyrus), Thai basil eggplant curry (another purple phacelia). I don't know why it was so much easier and more satisfying to make observations once they had our fanciful names. Plus, we laughed all morning. 
Susan climbing out of Hauser Canyon.
At Lake Morena, we made a beeline for the ranger station, and were delighted to find a binder with all the local plants. Now, my camera has photos of all the pages, so I can learn the real names.
At Lake Morena.
We also had a third botanical breakthrough- meeting a woman named Landy from Montana who did vegetative surveys and knew some of the plants. How cool!

We have our first PCT story: In the afternoon after our siesta at around mile 23, we encountered a border patrol agent detaining an immigrant. As we walked past them, he asked us if we'd seen anyone else running away. (we hadn't) Further down the trail, we then came upon another border patrol agent who had sprained or broken his ankle. He asked if he could borrow Renee's hiking pole to use to get down the mountain. By the time she gave him her pole, the other agent arrived escorting the kid. We ended up following the three of them down the mountain. Apparently, they'd been chasing a whole group of immigrants for the past two days, until there were just two left. The guy that got away had paused when seeing the agent got hurt, and asked him if he was OK before running off. It was so interesting to hear parts of the story and watch the interactions. The injured guy hobbled slowly and looked to be on a lot of pain, but tried to act tough. We followed them to their vehicles at the road crossing, and he thanked us for use of the pole. Quite a fascinating glimpse into border issues.

Hanging my hammock this evening at Fred Canyon, at mile 32. We are camped with Landy and a couple from Washington state named Chuck ("Coach") and Sally who are hiking for 100 days at a relaxed pace- very nice (Edit- I would later meet and hike with Coach at mile 370). Another great day!

PS I will upload the photos from my camera and answer comments next time I have wifi- still getting used to blogging from the trail. (Update- see more of my photos on my picasa web album- the link is on my "PCT 2014 page).


  1. Awesome! Wishing you a happy and safe journey.


  2. I knew once you were on the trail all your anxiety would disappear and you would be relaxed and feeling comfortable in your surroundings. You were definitely well prepared. Enjoy your journey. I look forward to your updates and pics to come

    1. Yes the moment I got on the trail all that huge anxiety just disappeared- I feel so at home out here. It's incredible!

  3. I like your made up names for plants! I can put my books away now that you have a botanical reference on your camera.

    1. Thanks so much!!! I love seeing all the places you've mentioned and visited. Lots of love to you!