Day 1 - The Hike Begins

I hopped off the bus around 1:45 pm, filled up on 6.5 liters of water at the local fire station and then headed the 1+ miles to the start of the trail.

After making it a short distance, a kind soul stopped their truck and offered me a ride. 

Thanks for the ride, Cliff! 

Thanks for the ride, Cliff! 

He shared some of the history of the area and how he was in the process of building a museum to honor the legacy of the land.  He's also a cattle rancher, restores old John Deere tractors, and has helped build churches in the area. He was a fascinating person to meet and drove me straight up to the monument at the start of the trail:

The monument at the start of the trail

The monument at the start of the trail

I met some other hikers there and soon was off hiking in a new and foreign land. 

The dusty trail

The dusty trail

Cacti "raising the roof"

Cacti "raising the roof"

Flowers growing through the cracks in a rock

Flowers growing through the cracks in a rock

It was in the mid to upper 80's and hikers were feeling the heat. I tried out my new umbrella! 

 

It works great! 

It works great! 

I met some colorful characters today, here is a picture of one dtnamic duo, Beth and Brooklyn: 

They were both in good spirits and sporting hats, packs, and hiking boots

They were both in good spirits and sporting hats, packs, and hiking boots

It was a fun first day on the trail and I hiked until the stars were twinkling in the sky.

The sun setting on my first day. 

The sun setting on my first day. 

The moon was a welcome and familiar sight, without it I could easily imagine I was on a completely different planet.

The moon was a welcome and familiar sight, without it I could easily imagine I was on a completely different planet.

11 miles completed!