Day 6: 109.51-131.5

Today I woke up to a very wet sleeping bag due to the moisture at Warner Springs. The sleeping bag was already wet when I went to bed but in the morning it was much worse.

At around 5 I could not sleep anymore and decided to just get going. Getting packed was a bit cumbersome with everything being wet. I packed up the sleeping bag in a dry bag to not wet out everything else.

Once I was all packed I got going as usual in shirt and shorts, now with early morning additions of headlamp and gloves. As soon as I went from Warner Springs to the grassy meadow the temperature plummeted and I was extremely cold. There was nothing to do but keep hiking to stay warm. Finally I got warm add I hiked with assistance of the sun.

 Drying my great in the sun at Mike's place.
Drying my great in the sun at Mike’s place.

The day had a water carry from around 5 miles to 17 where there is a water tank near Mike’s place. Mike’s place is a trail angels that lives near the trail and hosts passing hikers for beer, soda and pizza. I made it there just after lunch and stayed until pizza was served at 1600.

After a bit of pizza I headed on for a few miles to find a campsite. I found a very small campsite that was very slanted so there seems to be a bit of sliding.

 A sheltered but uneven campsite. 
A sheltered but uneven campsite. 

Day 5: 92.39-109.51 Warner Springs

My camp was right next to the trail so I woke up in the morning as a few early starters passed me. At around 0445 I could not sleep anymore so I decided to break camp. I got on trail around 0515 which is the earliest so far. The hiking in the morning was really good, I might have to do the same in the future.

I wanted to make it to Warner Springs where I had sent a package with some resupplies. I had one longer break at Barrel Springs where I refilled water and had breakfast.

 Sitting on the shoulder of the amazing Eagle Rock.
Sitting on the shoulder of the amazing Eagle Rock.

Besides that I pushed on towards Warner Springs while stopping to talk to hikers as I passed them. On the way I passed Eagle Rock which surprisingly is a rock that looks like an eagle. After a few pictures I pushed the last stretch in to Warner Springs.

At Warner Springs there is a community centre that is really friendly to hikers. I started with a bucket shower and washed my clothes. After this I headed to the post office to grab my package. Then on to the restaurant to get some pizza. Once I was back at the community centre I charged my battery and relaxed.

 A very good pizza from the Golf Resort at Warner Springs.
A very good pizza from the Golf Resort at Warner Springs.

One cool thing about Warner Springs is that a company called 2 foot adventures have an airstream trailer there. The trailer is filled with awesome hiking gear and serves as an outfitter. I decided to switch out my groundcloth from polycryo to tyvex. I did this because I had already ripped a hole in my polycryo, so I am pretty sure it would not have lasted the thru-hike.

I will camp at the community centre before I hit the next section to Idyllwild. This section also had some interesting water carries that I am figuring out.

There seem to be a few people at Warner Springs that hike about as many miles as I do. I hope to run in to them up the trail.

Day 4: 45.31-68.44

I got up early today when the other hikers were breaking camp. I was a bit quicker than usual in tearing down camp and getting going and was on the trail in 30 minutes.

At around 8 I stopped to eat breakfast and dry out some of my stuff. After approximately 30 minutes I was on the trail again.

Heading down to scissors crossing it quickly became clear that it was going to be a hot day. I decided to skip Julian as I did not need the resupply. Instead I started towards the third gate cache which is the next water after scissors crossing. It was extremely hot going there and I think I should have taken a siesta during the hottest part of the day.

Once I had stocked up on water I pushed on a bit up the trail to clear room at the third gate and to make the hike in to Warner Springs shorter.

I camped at a small bivy site right next to the trail and after getting some food I tended to some small blisters in areas I have previously had issues.

I have sadly not found anyone to hike with yet because I seem to be going too far each day compared to others. I am not exactly sure if I should keep the same pace and hope I find someone with a similar pace out change it up. I expect there will be a lot of hikers in Warner Springs tomorrow so I can see what the pack looks like. Perhaps I should just get used to hiking alone a lot.

Day 3: 45.31-68.44

My ass hurts a lot during the night, not sure my sleeping pad has sufficient padding. I had to keep turning. Other than that the night was great I stayed nice and warm, the bivy was nice given the wind.

It took me 45 minutes to break camp which is quite long. Getting going after that was very cold, especially since it was windy all day. The wind however helped keep the temperatures in check later in the day.

Today was the first day I did not pass any store or other place to buy food. This was probably for the best since I bought too much food in Mount Laguna.

 Sign showing the progress far
Sign showing the progress far

I thought the day was supposed to be mostly downhill but it ended up being a mix of up and down all day. The day also brought done interesting considerations about water since there were some dry stretches.

During the day I passed a few hikers including a fast woman from Germany who hiked longer than me out of Lake Morena. She got a hitch to Julian from a trailhead. I hope she is only of trail temporarily, she seemed like a strong hiker.

I had a couple of breaks during the day, a one hour lunch + water supply break and a 30 minute afternoon break.

 The trail generally has views like this for the most part
The trail generally has views like this for the most part

I ended my hike at a campsite where some other hikers were camped and enjoyed the company during the evening.

Tomorrow I might head in to Julian but I am not sure, if there is no water in the cache I obviously have to head in there.

Day 2: 20.3-45.31 Past Mount Laguna

Tonight was a very cold night. I woke a couple of times and had to put socks on to try and keep my feet warm. Despite that I actually slept alright. When I got up around 0600 there was frost on my sleeping bag a testament to how cold the night had been.

I was very allow in getting started but when I did the early morning cold temperatures made for excellent hiking. My plan was to make it to at least Mount Laguna and preferably beyond.

I had a couple of small breaks and experienced my first trail magic at Boulder Oaks Campground where there were tangerines and trail angel Blue Moon dropped of some cupcakes.

The trail crossed a few roads and after one road crossing I encountered my first rattlesnake. I was walking along and suddenly heard rattling, I jumped back and saw the snake coiled up course to the trail some 10 ft ahead of me. It did not move even after I threw some rocks so I dried a bit off trail to avoid it. The next couple of hours I looked very carefully for snakes.

During lunch I dried my sleeping bag and some clothes on the sun. After about 30 minutes I went on again. I encountered a lot of the hikers that started the day before me as the trail climbed towards Mount Laguna.

Once I reached Mount Laguna I resupplied with WAY too much food for the stretch to Warner Springs. I also swallowed an ice cream. After that I got the cafe for a burger and some fries, the cafe is a popular hiker spot so I talked a bit about plans for the next section. If you are keeping track that is 2 out of 2 days with burgers on the PCT. I think that is about to change in the upcoming section though.

I decided to head out of Mount Laguna as I did not want to sleep at a campground again. 4.5 miles from Mount Laguna I found a somewhat sheltered spot near a peak at 6000 ft.

It is supposed to be another very cold night so I decided to use my bivy. The spot has the most amazing view and another guy had turned up to watch the sunrise in the morning. I have not made any specific plans for when I pack up. I guess I will see when I feel like it, I would like to be on the trail earlier than yesterday.

Day 1: 0-20.3 Border to Lake Morena

I arrived to the trail a little over 7 thanks to the amazing transport arranged by Scout and Frodo. The Southern terminus was a flurry of activity as everyone tried to get the perfect picture.

At 0730 I started hiking and quickly overtook most of the hikers that had set off before me. Quickly Brandon turned up and we continued on together. By mile 3 we had overtaken all the hikers that started on the same day.

We made extremely good time and even with a somewhat late start we made close to 10 miles by 1000. At around 1100 we had a quick lunch break for about 45 minutes. In hindsight we should probably have taken a longer break.

At mile 15 the trail descends to the dry Hauser Creek and after crossing the creek it climbs 500 ft in about 2 miles. Before starting the ascend we stopped for 15 minutes and then pushed the rest of the way to Lake Morena.

At Lake Morena a section of the campground is dedicated to PCT hikers. We meet up with a lot of hikers that started the day before us. Quickly we decided to go on an important mission to the local grill and both devoured a burger.

Upon return to the campground we were quickly joined by a few other hikers that started with us. We all shared our experiences of the first day and for most people also how sore their muscles were. I did not really have any soreness probably thanks to my light pack.

I will be staying in Lake Morena tonight and I plan to leave early in the morning. I will probably hike alone as Brandon plans to take a short day tomorrow. I feel good so I am planning at least 20 miles tomorrow as well.

Finally ready

As I write this I am finally ready for my PCT hike. Yesterday and today I have stayed with Scout and Frodo who are some amazing trail angels. They transport hikes to their house, feed them let them sleep there and drive them to the trail in the morning.

 Evening social singing before hiker midnight
Evening social singing before hiker midnight

At their house I have talked with other hikes and streamlined the way I am going to do the trail. I have decided not to use a bounce box, instead I will buy what I need on the way and generally just take it as it comes.

My general resupply strategy is to buy stuff as I go and limit the packages I send. Despite that I decided to sent a package to Warner Springs as most people are that the resupply there if limited and expensive. All other resupply packages I will arrange and send on the trail.

I have made all of the preparations that I think are necessary and should have sufficient gear. So all in all I feel like I am ready.

Tomorrow I will be departing for the trail at around 0600 and I expect to start hiking some time past 0700. I expect to do around 20 miles to Lake Morena tomorrow. I cannot wait to get started!