Date: Thursday, 27 April 2017
Start: Campsite on Long Creek 5416 ft
Finish: Campsite in Boulders area 5219 ft
Daily Miles: 15.0 PCT, 2.0 other
Total PCT Miles: 55.9
Weather: Mostly sunny and warm
Accommodation: Tent beside trail
Breakfast: Frittata and ice-cream
Dinner: Rehydrated chicken and dumplings
Aches: Still suffering from head cold and tired all over.
Highlight: Being served in the cafe in Mt Laguna by a guy who had helped at some Checkpoints for The Great North Walk 100s trail race I am Race Director for. It was about 7 years ago and neither of us remembered the other, but we have friends in common (Andy Hewat).
Lowlight: Missing the turnoff to Mt Laguna and walking about a mile extra.
Pictures: Click here
Writing my journal is a bit of a chore tonight. Not that I haven’t had an interesting day, it’s just that it’s late, I am tired, the howling wind is battering my tent (I fear it may not survive the night), and I just want to curl up in my sleeping bag and go to sleep.
I got away from camp a little before 7am with the goal of reaching the mountain village of Mt Laguna around 9am when the shops would open. All went to plan, apart from missing the turnoff and costing myself an extra mile, and most of the walk was through beautiful pine forests along lovely trail. It was cool and shaded and thoroughly enjoyable. The café opened later than advertised and there were about 10 hikers waiting outside. I walked down to the outdoors store and bought a replacement sleeping mat and a cup before returning to the cafe and having breakfast.
On my way out of town I passed the Post Office/store and bought an ice cream and chocolate milk before joining the trail. It soon left the pines behind and for the rest of the day followed an arid escarpment overlooking the desert thousands of feet below along with far-off mountains in most directions. It was magnificent, and adequate repayment for the hot and arduous trail hiking.
I seem to be bumping into a few of the same people and we caught up at one of the last water sources and are camped in the same beautiful, but windswept, area. Conditions are so bad, we have all just retired to our tents spread over a few hundred square metres among the boulders. My tent has large rocks holding it down at pivotal points, but I fear the tent seams may split if the gale keeps blowing. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic sunset from my eagle’s perch.
Water is a constant topic of conversation amongst the hikers and we are each making judgment calls about how much to carry. It will be the same for the next few weeks.