Waking up on Day 2, everything was soaked. While my REI Quarterdome 2 is my baby, equipped with two vestibules and a ceiling perfect for stargazing… it is terrible at wicking condensation. I knew this heading into the PCT, but I figured the arid climate of the trail’s majority would keep me in good shape.
After stuffing my wet tent and sleeping bag into my pack, I waved goodbye to Jordan and his mom, Trudy, and headed out of the Lake Morena Campsite. With intentions of hitting Mt Laguna (Mi. 42) by 5:00pm, I knew I needed to pick up the pace.
I leapfrogged with Jordan and Trudy for a bit, sharing grumbles about the increase of elevation and the desert heat. Around mile 28, I took a mile (road trip) detour to a small creek. Stripping to my undies, I plunged into the piercing cold water, escaping the heat I had already become so familiar with.
The rest of the day was pretty steep. I took a few naps under bushes and small trees, and somehow made the 22 miles to the gear store at Mt Laguna around 4:30.
Waddling up to the store, I had no intention of shedding 5 lbs of gear from my pack, including my tent. But after a pack shakedown and a convincing conversation to rock a tarp instead of my tent, that’s exactly what happened. These guys were the best. Hot Legs (real name TBD), one of the shop’s workers, knew I was on a budget a pitched in $20 towards my new shelter.
It is this kind of hospitality that makes me want to never leave the trail.
I gave the guys $20 to ship my tent back to Texas and hung around the shop well past closing time, drinking coke and hearing stories of other hikers. They congratulated me on my quick pace, and wished me well as I headed out to bag another 5 miles before end of day.
The rest of the day’s hike was innnncredddible. It was golden hour in the mountains, and with a bit of a lighter pack, I was singing [(fall out boy) (duh)] and skipping the 5 miles to my camp site.
Upon learning the campgrounds were a half mile trip from trail, I ended up camping on a little overlook. Unaware at how little water I had, I ended up dry camping, eating a jar of peanut butter for dinner. Sorry, mom.
Also, THE WINDS. If you’re familiar with air hockey, that’s exactly what my 2nd night of camping was like. I cowboy camped (camping with no shelter), so I was blown side-to-side around the deck the entire night. In hindsight, it was quit entertaining. In the moment, it was da worst.