Sunday, May 8, 2016

Day 5- The "L" Word

May 07, 2016
Mt. Laguna Lodge(42.6) to Stealth Site(63.6) 21 Miles 

I absolutely LOVE this trail. The views are spectacular, but I'm talking about the actual trail. It is beautifully graded. I feel like I'm walking on a road. I only planned on hiking 13-16 miles today, but by 1 I had already hit 16 miles. This trail is built for big mile days. I'm still taking it slow to let my body adjust, but I'm still able to do decent mileage. 

When I left the lodge at 6:45 this morning it was 21 degrees with the wind chill. I was very cold for the first few hours. I just tried to keep my head down and keep moving, but when the fog started to blow out I was left with great views. 
Burn area
Desert floor

I walked a ridge line for a lot of miles. It was nice when the trail turned out of the wind, but inevitably it always turned back into the wind. Eventually I just stopped caring that I was cold because of what I was seeing. 
Low desert below the ridge 
Panoramic of the ridge line 

It never really warmed up today. When the sun was out and the wind wasn't too bad it felt hot out, although the high today was 51 degrees. In the shade with the wind blowing it was freezing. This isn't exactly how I pictured the desert. I walked for 10 miles before I took my first break. Then I hiked another 6 miles before stopping for lunch. I left the lodge with 1.5L of water. I knew that I wouldn't need much water since it was so cold out. I took my lunch break at the only reliable water source of the day, which was .3 miles off the trail. It was my first time this entire hike that I had to filter water. It came out of a horse trough and the water was green. I packed out 3L so I would have enough to rehydrate myself and cook dinner. My next water source is only 6 miles away tomorrow. I was exhausted after leaving my lunch spot, but I passed up 3 tent sites because it was still so early in the day. 
View of the desert floor

I made it into camp by 4 pm and quickly set up camp. As I was cooking dinner it started to drizzle, but it never did rain. I camped with 12 other hikers and we ate dinner together and chatted until the temperature plummeted. I think this is the earliest I've ever had my blog written, 7 pm. As soon as it gets dark I'll go to sleep. Tomorrow should be another great day. I love this trail! 

If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.
- Seth Godin


  1. Last year, AT views with sky and miles & miles seemed hard won...On the PCT they seem almost constant (so far) and very beautiful. Thanks for sharing them with great pics.
    Chris Nashville

    1. I was telling someone earlier today that you almost appreciate the views on the AT more, because you work so hard for them. I'm enjoying the desert, but it does get a little boring looking at the same view as you slowly wind your way up the mountain. These switchbacks can take you forever to get anywhere.

  2. WOW - great pictures and so different from the AT! Really glad that you're enjoying this trail so much!

    1. The trail is really pleasant, but the heat is difficult to deal with. So far everything is going as planned, which is shocking, usually nothing goes according to plan on the trail.

  3. Great, now I have to hike the PCT. Thanks a bunch... (those views! But brrrr re 21 degrees. Good decision on that 10 degree bag!)

    1. I keep thinking how sorry I feel for people who only hike one long distance trail, and it is the AT. You would really enjoy this trail. Maybe you can section hike it over the next couple of ears.

  4. I love the PCT and the views. I did this section up to Paradise Valley in March and just yearn for more each time I see pictures. Your description of the trail and photos are so spot on!