Day: Sunday, May 15th
Miles: 20 – 37.75
Lake Morena State Park – Remote Camp at Mile
One of the initially unnerving elements of the PCT is acclimating to the “new” environment. In my case I have limited experience in desert-style hiking, and certainly no experience to differentiate whether the sound I heard every few moments on the trail was a mere scamper of a lizard, or the rattle of something far more nefarious. I had seen a snake on day 1, but it didn’t rattle. Ergo, I feel it was not a rattle snake (not scientific proof but I’m rolling with it), as I write this entry on Day 5, I am still unsure as to what a rattle sounds like, but every scamper still makes me hop.
I woke early on day 2 to a thick fog coating the entire area. My tent was wet and visibility was poor – Irish style, where even when it’s not raining, you’re getting wet. I had a depressingly disappointing breakfast of a Mountain House Egg Skillet. Dehydrated food is always questionable, I’m not sure why I felt this would be different but for the most part it was a large pile of goo. I purchased these as my “treat” breakfasts for my resupply boxes, however I suspect I have just bounced 10 morning misery portions down the trail for some time in the future that I resupply.
The trail started with a long cool walk over some small hills. I kept bumping into the German girl from the campsite for the first 5hours or so. She had a faster pace but seemed to stop longer. After a few hours, whilst wandering through a beautiful dry riverbed lined with old oaks, the broke out in all its fury.
I stopped to resupply with some water. Using my filter is still a novelty, I’m still impressed that a little device like the Sawyer mini can do anything at all but it works a champ.
The temperature rose rapidly and by the time I reached the interstate crossing (which we had driven over the prior day), it was hotter than I have ever hiked in, around the mid-80s. The trail rides over 10 miles to a mountain pass where a cool breeze made things a lot more pleasant. I certainly won’t complain about a cool morning cloud-bank again!
I had fully intended to hike the full 22 miles to Mount Laguna but today was a day of aches. When I speak of aches on the PCT I now realize (5 days in) that there is morning aches, afternoon aches and evening aches as well as in between aches. None of these aches necessarily affect the same part of the body, but rather randomly migrate across your body over the day (sometimes repeating some steps). Today, day 2, was the day that my body ached. Yesterday’s large water haul and 20 mile obviously had more of an impact than I expected as the unrelenting climb up to 5000 ft at Mount Laguna was simply not something I was capable of completing. At 17.75 miles, I crossed a small bubbling stream. One of the only streams still running. I also bumped into my friends with the dog (who where hypothesizing about staying by the stream). After very little analysis on my part, I decided that a nice evening here, followed by completing the hike on a cool AM schedule was far superior to trooping another 5 miles for a post office that didn’t open until 8am anyways. I setup camp, used the restroom (I’ll do a post on that doozie at some point), and hit the hay at 6pm, sleeping right thru.