Tuesday, April 24, 2012

24 April - Day 4 - the Laguna Mtns

Mile 043 to 059. Mt Laguna to Sunrise Trailhead.

Total PCT Miles today: 16

Charles here.

Late start getting out of the cabin. My feet are still a blistered mess. I tape and re-tape, bandaging them up. We move out across trails leading along thru Jeffrey pines and here & there past a Coulter pine with its huge clawed heavy "widow-maker" cones. Our trail took us high up into the chaparral above the pines. A blooming forest of manzanita, ceanothus, mtn mahogany, and buckthorn - all of it shoulder-height, and sculpted in endlessly interwoven Bonsai shapes. Below bloomed Baby Blue-eyes, Popcorn flower, & Calif Peony, among others. It would be so easy to make these daily posts into lists of the botanical, ornithological, zoological and physiographical marvels we encounter with such cheerful wonder. But this space isn't the place. We'll make note of some as "flavoring particles" for memory, though.

Yucca sending up its blooming stalk.

We spent all day in bright sun working our way north along the crests and edges of the Laguna Mountains-- always about 5400 ft elevation or so.

Seano pointing past the Anza-Borrego to distant San Jacinto.

From Foster's Point we could look north and northwest across the brown and chalky expanses of the Anza-Borrego Desert to the arid and tectonically active San Felipe Range (that we will soon ascend in a few days). Beyond them we can see on the distant horizon the blue silhouette of Mt San Jacinto ( over 10,000 ft tall ) that lies on our trail. In fact it is the north end of the Peninsular Ranges we are hiking in - a range stretching from the southern tip of Baja (Chris & I hiked the southern end in Baja about 5 yrs ago). Beyond San Jacinto we can just make out the distant hump of Mt San Gorgonio (above 11,000 ft). We can see snow there still.

 It is dreamy and lovely walking and walking - and when we meet other thru hikers we all exchange a knowing - almost conspiratorial - smile & nod. We get this. All this is ours and for seemingly endless days and days and weeks and months to come it will be ours. The great sky, the gardening of the gods, the light, the willfull winds, the mica-sparkling trail, and the land rising ever up before us. Glorious.

Charles and Seano at Pioneer Mail Park
We lunch at a park near Garnet Peak trail head where we meet other thru hikers - then hike on and on. We make it to Pioneer Mail Park as the sun is leaning way over westwards. The trail angel who supplies that site with drinking water happened to be there - and she had so many interesting stories of the Indians who lived here. We were fascinated. We were also most grateful for all the gallons of water she had brought. Wow!

Seano and Chris hiking the ridge.

Having loaded up on water, we continue on into the night, hiking with headlamps on to the turnoff to Sunrise trailhead. We arrive late in the dark - with wind and clouds forecast for tomorrow evening since the news on the trail is that a big Pacific storm is on the way.

I cook up garlic Parmesan mashed potatoes in the dark, while Sean and Chris get the tents set up. We shelter behind the tents for the meal. With Slim Jim sausage sticks. Oh man!

Windy night. And I can no longer walk on these feet.

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  1. Slow and steady. Feet should come around after two weeks or so and your body will catch up another two after that. Don't worry about going slow in the start, you guys will be machines after a few hundred miles. Happy Trails. -Mouse

  2. Where are you? No cell phone coverage? We do wonder what is going on. Gary is curious, too. Those blisters should callus after a while.