Total mileage 15.5 + .5 off trail
We’ve been waking up at 5am to get some miles in before the hottest part of the day. Felt good today and we knew we were in for another big ascent right out of the gate.
The ascent wasn’t as awful as I anticipated but once again I didn’t eat enough and started crying about two miles in. All the hiker food makes me want to barf and I’m still struggling with my stomach, which is common for me but worrisome when I need calories.
At the top of the ascent we wound through some gorgeous piney forest. A stream was babbling, butterflies flitted about, and it seemed right for my first trail poop.
At mile 42 we came my new favorite place: the town of Mt Laguna. Population 60 and it’s geared for hikers as the trail passes right next to it. They have a beautiful campground with flush toilets and coin showers, a little café where we stopped for a beer and some chili mac, and best of all an amazing gear store. They were offering pack shakedowns- we didn’t participate but listened to the guys there dole out tons of helpful advice on how to get a lighter pack and hike smarter. They also did some major blister surgery on many hikers and Terminus Tom gave out Tecates while we hung out on the porch. The rest of the town was a post office and general store.
We got some peanut m&ms, meat sticks, and hazelnut snickers bars at the store and then sat on the big porch out front watching other hikers run errands.
Josh and I both knew if we stuck around too long we’d never, ever leave, so after a couple hours we trudged up the road and said goodbye to the 30+ hikers staying at the campground that night.
We hiked another five miles to a campground with showers and $24 campsites that could be split between hikers- unfortunately there were no hikers anywhere to be found. We were approaching a ten mile camping closure section and there was no way I could do another ten, so we paid the $24 and a buck each for a four minute shower with no soap or towel. I cried because I was feeling lonely and strange, and then another hiker walked up. He threw in ten bucks for the site and shared that he’s trying to do the trail in 100 days- Josh and I are planning on 150! He had hiked 26 miles that day.
We made a Mountain House for dinner- Cowboy Beans and Rice and I think- the other hiker offered us some smoked paprika for our meal, which I assumed was code for drugs. We set up the tent with no fly and watched the sun set. Turns out no fly was a terrible idea because the moon was so bright it kept both of us awake all night. That plus the blister I started developing as soon as we left Laguna.