We woke up in a tornado! Well, not literally, but it was pretty damn windy. I had dreams of cougars outside my tent and woke myself up a coupe times. Once, at 2am I opened my eyes and had a crystal clear view of the Big Dipper, which made me smile.
We woke at 6am and While we were getting dressed, Josh showed me his back where he was bitten by an ant on our first day of hiking. The welt was no joke! Hopefully it dissipates without issue. We were out of camp by 7am and chatted with In Charge and another hiker named Timone, who hikes in a tie, before heading out. In Charge said he was going to Nero at Cibbettes and we said our goodbyes.
We started to climb immediately as we wound our way toward Mount Laguna. After 4 miles we stopped to get water and have a proper breakfast. While we were resting Timone showed up and we continued our conversation. He is an avid AT hiker now doing the PCT with some other AT friends. We all packed up and left together but Timone left us in the dust!
The next few miles were a struggle for me until we reached he tree line where things cooled off. Once in the pines we laid down and rest in the cool grass. A father and son passed us and we said hello. They are doing a section hike to hwy 74. They were at the camp across from us at Lake Morena and josh swears they were carrying a bear can! Gnarly!
As we approached our last mile to Desert View Picnic area we talked with a forest service ranger who was carrying a large shovel and on the prowl for fires. She said she had already found three so far this hiking season. I hope PCT hikers don't start any fires this year!
Once at Desert View Picnic area I used the bathroom to try and clean up before heading into town. We walk the quarter mile down the road and put out bags on the patio of The Laguna Mountain Lodge and waved hello to several hikers we've been leap frogging. We headed inside the store and picked up our resupply box, which seemed really heavy, and got some drinks and an ice cream sandwich. Back on the patio we talked to the two San Diego native women hikers ( who's names escape me just now) and they said their friend Tina, the lady who liked our blog, was trail named Blog Stalker because of our meeting! Sending hugs Blog Stalker!!!! While trying to collect ourselves and form a plan for the night, spotted a couple people we knew, including Trish Scott from the PCT page. We chatted with her for a while and she said she had been hold up in a room with back pain. She invited us to stay in her room but we decided not to. Laguna seemed like a vortex and if I stayed I wasn't sure I could get out and on the trail! Shortly before we left In Charge appeared! He decided not to Nero after all and we were happy to see him.
After we raided the hiker box for half used cans of fuel we talked about what to do next. our plan to nero at Burnt Rancheria was dashed due to the campground being closed so we headed back up to Desert View Picnic area to do some foot care and look at the maps. My feet were pretty rough with a dime sized blister under my big toe and one under my little toe nail. How does one get blisters UNDER the nail?!
We decided to hike up 5 miles to Laguna Campground. We loaded up some water, as we thought cowboy camping on trail may also be an option. After 3 miles we were spent and the sun was behind the mountain. We decided to cowboy camp. While eating dinner we could see In Charge heading down the trail. He rounded the bend and caught his first glimpse of the epic view of the Anza Borrego Desert and let out several hoots and hollers before dropping his pack and running up a hillside to better this view. We waved hello and he set up camp right on the trail. We later decided to move away from a struggling meadow to a more barren area and lay down for the night.
Right now it is 8:30pm and Josh and I are laying under the stars in our bags writing our respective blogs. This is both our first times sleeping without a tent and we are both stoked! Tomorrow we try to Nero again and only plan to hike to pioneer mail picnic area to rest. Our goal is to night hike down to scissors crossing the following day to avoid the heat. But you know what they say: if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans. I think that goes double on the PCT.