Month 1 Recap
May 9 - June 9, 2023
This post is written on behalf of Madelynn by guest blogger Dan Bolliger!
One month on trail!
Madelynn left for the PCT about a month ago and is nearing the end of the first section of trail - the Southern California desert. After the desert she will have to decide whether to enter the Sierra Mountains, which are still covered in snow, or skip to Northern California and return to the Sierra when the snow melts. For now, she is focused on finishing the desert section over the next week or two.
After the first two weeks solo, Madelynn began hiking with a small group of folks that she met on trail - Claire, Franck, Ben, and CJ. She has enjoyed having company and hiking in groups has some strategic advantages. I recently travelled to LA and visited Madelynn over the weekend and met her new friends. It is a really fun, friendly crew! When I picked Madelynn up we all piled in the rental Ford Fusion I had and somehow managed to fit all six of us plus everyone's backpacks!
This is a photo that I took on the last day of my trip, where I hiked 5 miles with Madelynn's team. They move fast! I guess hiking 20 miles every day makes you a fast walker.
This is a photo of 5 liters (11 lbs!) of water that Madelynn had to carry through a very dry section of trail. Overall, Madelynn's gear is working really well and no big issues have popped up.
A highlight of this section were natural hot springs that Madelynn stopped at along the trail. There are many side trips you can do while hiking the PCT and this one was a quick detour.
It is pretty inspiring to see Madelynn's progress over this first month. When you are hiking every day and living out of a backpack you really have to adapt to a new way of life. Early on, blisters and achilles pain was causing her issues but she was able to get it resolved. She says that some blisters will periodically return, but they are not nearly as bad as they were before. Additionally, the team encountered snow two times in the mountains, but they had the right gear and were able to navigate through those sections. These are just some examples of things that Madelynn has had to problem solve while on trail. I'm sure she has a hundred more stories to tell. She will likely write a more in-depth blog post herself once she completes the desert section.
Lastly, she tells me that she may have found her trail name - but you'll have to ask her about that:)