Day minus one: Before the beginning
What this is all about, is probably pretty nicely explained by my conversation with the Friendly but understandably rather inquisitive Border Patrol officer, which went something along these lines:
How long are you planning to stay in the US?
Me: Approximately five months.
What are you going to do?
Me: hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. [I hand over the hiking permit]
You’re going to hike for five months?
How are you going to pay for that?
Me: I’m a doctor and have adequate savings [I hand signed bank statement]
What kind of doctor?
Me: I don’t have a specialization yet. I’m in the middle of doing my residency.
So why not wait until you are done with that?
Me: Now is the time of the season to hike that trail.
What’s your plan for that?
Me: today I’m staying in Los Angeles and tomorrow I’m going to San Diego. The day after that I ‘ll start hiking.
You are going to hike in San Diego for five months?
Me: no. The trail goes all the way from Mexico to Canada
How long is that?
Me: 2665 miles [4200 km]
You are going to hike all the way from Mexico to Canada???
Me: that’s the plan
Me: yes, but I might meet someone along the way. Most people do it that way.
But what about if you get hurt?
Me: I have travel insurance.
But what if you don’t have cellular coverage?
Me: 4000 people start on the trail each year, so I’m not alone. Only a fifth of that make it all the way though.
And I was thus admitted.
That’s the way marker.
Here I imagined a picture of all my gear nearly organized. Turned out there was no time for that.