Day 4: adzpctko aka kickoff

Our fourth day on the PCT. We hitchhiked from Mt Laguna to Lake Morena to attend “Annual Day Zero PCT Kick-Off” aka adzpctko. We got free burritos and attended seminars about the trail.

Start location: Burnt Rancheria Campground, Mt Laguna, CA
End location: adzpctko at Lake Morena County Park
Miles hiked: 0
Miles hitchhiked: about 30

After waking up at about 8am, we showered at Burnt Rancheria campground. The showers were expensive because they only turn on for four minutes at a time (or $1). We prefer navy showers: rinse, shut off the water, soap up, rinse again. The 4-quarter minimum prevented us from doing this.

We had to wait around in Mt Laguna till noon to pick up a package at the post office, which is only open from 12-4pm. Mt Laguna is a very small town with only 3 businesses: a general store, an outfitter, and a tavern/restaurant.

Mt Laguna "downtown"

Mt Laguna “downtown”

Rick's pack in front of the Mt Laguna post office

Rick’s pack in front of the Mt Laguna post office

I (Rick) Rick mailed home my Leki trekking poles. I hadn’t used them once yet; they were dead weight hanging on my pack.

At around 1pm we got a ride from a 2014 PCT hiker named “Professor.” He’s got a great trail story. Just a few days into his 2014 hike he ran out of water in the desert and had to be rescued by a search team. Nobody thought he’d continue on the trail, but he made it all the way to Washington.

We shared the ride with a girl we first met at the store near Lake Morena, Rachel, and another. It was crowded in Professor’s car.

The drive to kickoff was about 30 minutes.

The differences between the Appalachian Trail event “Trail Days” and PCT kickoff are many. It started when our car pulled into the gate: there was no police presence (unlike the near-militant presence at Trail Days) and the checkin attendant was a volunteer.

Adzpctko check in booth. Erica at right, the other people from our ride next to her.

Adzpctko check in booth. Erica at right, the other people from our ride next to her.

After setting up our tent, we got free fried tacos from a trail angel who set up a large canopy and deep fryer under it.

The evening was a mix of socializing, seminars, and reunions. We spent a lot of it with the AT hikers we know (Popeye, Sass, Karate Kid– see our last post).

The best seminars were on trail pooping and trail geology.

Slide from the "trail pooping" seminar

Slide from the “trail pooping” seminar

We said hello to our favorite gear manufacturer, Six Moon Designs. They made our tent and Rick’s pack. These guys have great products and the best customer service, ever. They refurbished both Rick’s pack and our tent after the AT!

Six Moon Designs was at ADZPCTKO

Six Moon Designs was at ADZPCTKO

We met both Yogi, maker of the PCT’s most frequently updated guidebook, and Guthook, maker of the best trail GPS and guide phone app.

We had free burritos and brownies for dinner at 5:30pm. We got free beer from We ate with last year’s AT hikers.

We went to bed around 9pm with an awesome view out our tent door. The biggest difference between AT Trail Days and PCT Kickoff? Kickoff has a view.

Kickoff vendor area. We dont know why it's not in color.

Kickoff vendor area. We dont know why it’s not in color.

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