Had an early breakfast to say goodbye to civilization for a few days.
Nick and I met at the opposite corner of the hostel where the road leads up to Horseshoe Meadow campground. Just after a few minutes standing there, another hiker BeeMe from Belgium joined us. It took us about 30min until we were lucky. Spencer, a hiker/climber and actor out of LA gave us all a ride all the way up to the campground! What a nice guy!
Even with different itineraries, we started hiking together around 9.20am. Nick was bound for the High Sierra Trail and BeeMe was not planning to summit Mt Whitney.
There were 4 miles to hike up to Cottonwood pass and PCT mile 750, 10 more on the PCT to the planned tentsite with bear boxes.
Just a few miles in, I was chatting with Nick about coincidences when we walked up another hiker. I recognized an external frame backpack plus a kilt… That must be John Ladd! And he surely was! John is a celebrity on the JMT, maintains the main Facebook group and provides extensive statistics on the JMT hikers, gear etc. I had met him in 2016 when we both stayed in the Mt Williamson motel owned by Strider, another JMT celebrity. John remembered me as well – what a nice start into my JMT adventure with a familiar face!
We went over Cottonwood pass at 11132 feet and continued North. It was good to see the familiar PCT trail signs again! 😍
I got really exhausted in the afternoon. Not sure if this is still the jet lag or whether I was getting a cold. It was a lot of altitude gain during one day. I had a headache and decided to take an Ibuprofen later at night to ensure a good sleep.
Took an extra break around 2pm, trying to nap but had no luck, Nick and BeeMe stuck around. It was nice of them but I felt a bit pressured too. Lunch break was too short. Was hiking with Nick and BeeMe – need to hike my own hike in terms of speed, breaks etc to get adjusted to the trail quickly.
We arrived at Rockcreek camp at 5.30pm. I had also camped here during my PCT 2018 hike, all felt familiar. Unfortunately it was as busy with easily 12-15 hikers.
14 miles on the first day. I feel dead. So glad tomorrow I have only planned 10.5 miles to Guitar lake.
Joint dinner with Nick and BeeMe. In the tent by 6.45pm.