Got up at 5. Filled up all the water, put last minute stuff in the pack (glasses, contacts), and headed out around 7. Panicked for a second a few minutes from the house--I forgot my wallet, it's not in my pants. Duh. I'm just taking a few cards and cash.
Mild day in the mountains, took the obligatory snaps, then Chris headed to work. I waited for some abrupt shock to remind me this was real, but it didn't feel real. My pack is a manageable weight. I know where I'm going today, I've checked my gear. And it's real pretty out--all green with lot of wildflowers. I've never seen as many California peonies as the first mile of the PCT.
There were tons of wildflowers out, and I snapped a lot of pics, and motored along to mile 5. The trail was nicely graded, never steep, but it did seem to like to take its time to get somewhere. So far, it feels like I'm just on a long day hike in March in the San Diego mountains, something I've done a dozen or three times in the past.
Mile 5 I stop for a break, and get up and my left knee goes "ow" and gets a bit painful. WTF? I've never ever had problems with my knees. Why now? This thought would nag me for the next 10 miles... until it suddenly went away. Meat bags are weird.
Still more flowers and meandering trail; it gets hot (as in mid-80s) but there's no wind or even a caressing breeze, so I put up the umbrella and futz with it for the next hour. The trail is really well cleared on both sides (for horse riding use, I presume), and the umbrella keeps me cool and shady, I like it.
I find a shady damp spot for lunch, let my feet air out and change into injinji toe socks, just for kicks. They work pretty well, though my feel already have decent calluses. I spent 45 minutes there yet not one person walked by. I kept on wondering if I'd see anyone else on the trail today--turns out I didn't, I was truly solo.
I'm now thinking that I'm making good time. Do I want to push it to Lake Morena? Maybe I'll see what it's like in Hauser Canyon. Well, it's green, and there's a few gallons of cached water, but five helicopters going by overhead in five minutes isn't welcoming. Theres also an oddly creepy vibe about the place, so I head up the steep hill to Lake Morena--a thick high dark cloudiness has moved in, so it's pretty cool out.
It's around mile 18 that my Camelbak goes dry. Grr, I should've checked it, I only have half a liter. And sunset is in just over an hour. And I've got taint rash. I'm low on water, energy, but I do make it. I quickly setup the tent, decide I don't want to hassle with cooking by headlamp, and walk down the road 10 minutes to get a burger and milkshake. Yum.
And now bed. I could use a decent night's sleep.