Wonderful hiking weather this morning. I woke up at 5:30 after 8 hours of solid sleep, then drowsed in bed for an hour thinking about things. I then spent far too long repacking--which I regretted as I looked for a campsite before sundown.
Lots of wildflowers and different wildlife today: a mob of vultures, more garter snakes, an odd purple-gray snake I didn't recognize, a horny toad. Yesterday I saw a lot too--garter snakes, tons of lizards, a coyote.
The wildflowers are really out. I should post some more pictures. Here are a few.
So... back to the morning. It was a bucolic six mile walk north from Lake Morena, through dappled grassy oak groves, climbing a not-to-difficult hill, passing a prison work crew clearing brush for CalFire.
I still haven't seen anyone else except the two hikers last night, who left brght and early before I did. Where is everyone?? Finally, stopping for an extended break at Boulder Oaks, I ran into a man who's training for his thru-hike in April. He lives in Lake Morena, and we hiked together for a couple of miles and chatted.
Finally, around mile 28, a guy named Howdy passed me going the other direction. He's training too, and leaves May 1st. after his board exams.
The trail got a bit sloggy for awhile--just uphill, east of I-8, winding around ridges, leisurely making its way to the Kitchen Creek Road. It was hot out, maybe 80, and there waswn't much shade. Then it just kept going up and up, climbuing maybe 2500 feet elevation or more? My legs and feet are feeling great today (I decided I really like the Injiji toe socks) but my stamina just wasn't there, and I was dragging. Finally, I realized I had 30 minutes of daylight left, and camped at mile 36.2 under a big oak tree.
Tomorrow it's 8 miles to the Mt Laguna Country Store, up at 6000 feet. Then we're in country I know--the section where the PCT works its way along the desert escarpment. Not quite sure where to camp tomorrow night, somewhere around mile 56 or so would be good... and I need to plan for water. Today I'm fine--and still have two liters for the eight miles to Mt Laguna, which is plenty. Plus there's a creek crossing! Exciting.