Miles today: 14.5
Woke up around 530 and went and took a warm shower at the Laguna campground and then spent a big chunk of time in the women’s bathroom because 1) it was cold outside and my hair was wet and 2) because there was an electrical outlet and I could charge my phone and my charger, which was low. Tip: I read that you should bring a charger that can take multiple USBs and didn’t listen and ended up buying one at the gear shop in Laguna. Do it! Charging took forever and the group of hikers in there ended up taking it in shifts so we could go get other things done – Rachel, a hiker I’ve bumped into a handful of times, ended up watching my phone while I went and packed up my gear.
At 9, I headed to Mount Laguna’a store so I could resupply. I grabbed peanut butter out of a hiker box (it weighs a ton so I get why they dropped it) and split some tortillas with another hiker. The store is fairly priced considering how remote it is. I paid $14 for a dehydrated backpacker meal (it has vegetables in it! I couldn’t resist!) but only got one and made my other dinners ramens. I also stopped by the gear shop for the charger and some blister supplies. My blisters haven’t been bothering me at all!
I had planned to get a meal at the restaurant but accidentally bought an extra breakfast at the grocery store and kind of wanted to hit the road, so Karma and I headed out of town around 11 with another hiker named Whisper. I almost left my trekking pole behind but Karma found it – she had to save it again for me later, too. Whisper got ahead of us pretty quickly, but Karma and I managed to stay together for quite a big chunk of the day. At one point Karma was behind me a ways and I saw a snake – it was skinny with black and grayish stripes down the length of its body. When it slithered away, it slithered up a tree. So now snakes can climb.
The views were stunning today and I have a feeling they won’t really translate to photos – but to try to paint a picture, Mount Laguna is filled with pine trees. We hiked through that a while, then saw some manzanita and lilac in full bloom (a south bound section hiker filled us in on what the plants were), and then we turned a corner and could see some 6 or 7000 feet down into the desert. It was amazing. It was also windy and when we edged closer to the side of the mountain I almost got blown off my feet.
We took a break and met two other hikers, a guy who was doing big miles whose name I forgot, and a woman from China whose trail name is Tree. Tree is awesome. She’s in finance but loves hiking and writing. She started a day after us so she’s pulling pretty big miles too.
We passed the 50 mile mark! There wasn’t a trail sign so Karma made one.
The whole group I’ve been traveling with had planned to camp at a picnic site that was listed on both Guthooks and Halfmile as a campsite and water source, Pioneer Mall, but when we got there there was a very clear sign saying day use only. Bummer. Karma was waiting for me and making herself minestrone so I quickly made myself some ramen. The doctor (his name is Josh) and his brother Kelsey were there, as well as Jazzi and Dan. We were all pretty bummed we couldn’t camp. Tree came in a few minutes later and made herself dinner and then came over to show us – noodles, tomatoes, spices and tuna. It looked amazing.
Karma and I pushed on, debating whether to try to get to the next listed camp site some 3.5 miles in or to find something early. For a while there weren’t many options as we were hiking right on the ridge. Karma texted Tommy (who just got the trail name Twerk) and he told us he was at the Boulder Field, so we mustered the energy to go a few more miles, even though we spotted some other hikers camped in a wash that looked really nice. They even left an invitation.
We got to the Boulder Field and set up our tents and now here I am. It’s pretty breezy up here so I hope I get some decent sleep – I need it. My ankle was bothering me for the last five miles, some muscle is a little pissed at me for all the walking. Thruhiking is fun like this – there’s always something a little off. But we’re about 20 miles out of town and then Karma, Amelia and I have plans to take a zero in a lodge. Til the I’m gonna try to be real nice to my body, she’s working hard.