Total Miles: 38.8
Just before 5:30, our little collection of thru-hikers at Lake Morena campground began to stir. A bit of a misnomer, Lake Morena is really a reservoir and one that had no water within sight of the campground itself. As Rich, Gazelle, Emily and I left at 6:30 the early morning light was beautiful and the cool temperatures reminded me of how wildly different the days and nights here can be.
After briefly getting sidetracked and eventually rejoining the PCT we ambled on and began climbing up into the Laguna Mountains. Not long thereafter we came across Beardoh, Sweet Pea, XC, and Lid and for a stretch we became a little hiking conga line climbing its way up through the heat of the day.
Just before noon, we reached the glorious shade of a stand of trees where everyone promptly hunkered down for a long relaxing siesta. The intensity and relentlessness of the sun is incredible, even on these first days where the temperature didn’t break 90 degrees. Aside from worrying about the next water, the next most improbable question is: “where’s the next shade?”
When it finally came time to brave the afternoon heat for the final 7 miles, it wasn’t long before we were ‘incentivized’ not to wander too far afield from the trail…
We continue to see these strange flowering plants every so often that I wish we could identify. They look like 8-foot tall flowering stalks of asparagus.
Too bad it’s not actually asparagus. I’m starting to feel my hiker appetite ever so slightly…
Highlight of the day: crossing the very first natural water source on the trail thus far at mile 37. All of a foot across and an inch deep, but no one was complaining!