Day 2: Mile 11- past Lake Morena to mile 26; 15 miles
Day 3: Mile 26 – 36; 10 miles
Day 4: Mile 36 – 45.5; 9.5 miles plus Mt. Laguna town resupply
The first stretch of the PCT from the Mexican border to Mt. Laguna has been great. We are seeing beautiful landscapes, observing interesting wildlife, getting our legs accustomed to our pack weight and daily mileage, and meeting friendly people.
The scenery tends to be low shrubs covering rolling hills with occasional wildflowers interspersed.
However, there are plenty of exceptions. Stands of large oak trees grow near creeks, some sections have rocky outcrops, and as we gained elevation near Mt Laguna we entered a pine forest. One of our favorite spots was near a big oak tree that looked to be hundreds of years old. Old trees have a calming but powerful presence and we really enjoyed that campsite.
During the hottest part of the day, several thru hikers tend to cluster together in one of the few shady places along the trail. We’ve met many interesting people from around the world – New Zealand, Japan, Hawaii, and all over the continental US. We’ve spent the most time chatting with Aaron and Laura from Bend, OR. They already thru hiked the PCT once, and are back to do it a second time! The common theme with everyone we’ve met on the trail is that they are happy and excited to be here.
We’ve also enjoyed watching and listening to the southern California critters. Two days ago we saw a snake peeking out of a hole, and another on the trail. We’ve seen several horny toads sunning themselves on a rocks. They look ancient with their dinosaur-like armor. Yesterday we watched the lizard pictured below hunt and eat a spider. We are learning more about the birds native to this area, and recently learned the acorn woodpecker’s call.
After a few hours in the town of Mt. Laguna we are restocked with food and on our way again.