On San Diego:

San Diego is a trip. I think Portland is the healthiest place to live. I feel like all kinds of beauty are recognized and celebrated. After 8 years living here, I feel very secure in my appearance. All of that was undone in about 20 minutes of being in San Diego. Maybe even before I left the airport. 

San Diego is just so bright and shiny. Too bright and shiny. And somehow it was both hot and cold. Hot sun, cold breeze. I packed all the wrong stuff. I’m not even sure what stuff I should have brought. A fleece jacket and a thong? Romper, trucker hat and a fur coat? 

I loved the landscaping. I love the fruit trees. I love the beach. The beach fitness thing cracked me up, though. Such superfluous workout gear! Before we left Pete and I went to Torrey Pines beach. There was basically a highway of people powerwalking down the beach, everyone decked head to toe in workout gear. Scampering around them were the children on spring break. The powerwalkers just moved around them like puh, your vacation is my exercise room. 

 

On the Laguna Mountains:

Our original vision for our Southern California trip was to spend the weekend in San Diego with Pete’s family, and then backpack Joshua Tree. But we’re PNW folks thinking with PNW brains. After about 3 minutes of research we realized that most of Southern California is very hot and very dry and we would probably die immediately if not sooner. Figuring out a more realistic trip took so much effort we were still planning it up until the time we were driving out to begin it. 

This was the first time I’ve ever had to carry all of my water. I can’t imagine doing this part of the PCT, the amount of water stress you must feel. All of the PCT-ers we met had big solar panels to power some kind of device, and on that device was an app telling them about water sources. 

Pete and I like to say, “it’s always something” cause really, it always is. For Southern California with its weather and its access, that something is water. Even if you can find it, it tastes disgusting. 

 

On Anza-Borrego:

What can I say about Anza-Borrego but that I was thrilled to be there and thrilled to leave (deserts always feel a little murder-y to me.) The roads we drove on to get to our camping spot were like no roads I’ve ever seen. The only thing separating the road from the non-road is car tracks in the sand. 

The sand is bone-colored and spotted with ocotillo and low scrub brush. It felt very flat, but also not flat at all because there were slot canyons, and other giant rock formations (one that we slept next to.) 

It was powerfully hot. It was also windy, which kept the heat from sticking to your skin but it found other ways to knock you over. I was so happy to be there I wanted to walk forever, but I couldn’t go more than 20 minutes without wanting to sit down. It felt like the moon and it felt like no place I’ve ever been.