Mile 15.4 to mile 26.0
Hauser Creek to Boulder Oaks campground
It was really cold last night! I had changed into my long underwear but didn’t bother attaching the straps of my quilt to the pad or putting on my fluffy jacket. It was a relief when the sun came up and cell phone alarms started ringing. I’ll try to avoid camping in creek bottoms after that chilly night. If I remember my Laura Ingalls, creek bottoms are where you catch the ague.
A ten mile day does not make me happy but I need to remember to take it easy these first couple days. No blisters yet! My feet feel like someone’s been beating them up with a hammer. When I sit too long, my body feels about a thousand years old when I stand up.
I took my time leaving camp at Hauser creek. The five miles to Lake Morena was an easy little jaunt. I noticed a few nice camp spots coming out of Hauser Creek that might have been warmer during the night. It was an easy walk to Lake Morena, especially when the lake came into view. A few day hikers crossed my path. Two rugged thru-hiker guys came marching up behind me. One had a German flag headband and looooong legs. I stood aside. A few minutes later another hiker came up behind me and I recognized him from the Amtrak. He’d left the train in Los Angeles, with plans to start hiking in a few days. He said he’d taken the train to San Diego and then he and the two Germans had waited at the station until the trolleys started running at 5am. I couldn’t quite figure out how they’d taken the bus and arrived in Campo by 7 and then caught up with me around 9:30. 17 miles in 2.5 hours? Were they running?
I walked into town, straight to the store. Their mini grocery store definitely has an eye toward hiker business with plenty of instant coffee and pop tarts for sale. I got a grilled cheese and malted at the restaurant, so great, but that coffee.. whoever thinks that pouring the old carafe of burnt coffee dregs on top of the freshly brewed batch is a good idea is obviously not a coffee drinker and should not be in charge of the coffee.
I sat on the porch of the store for a good hour. It’s a local hangout and the locals did not disappoint. Entertaining small town drama. From the other hikers I learned that the campground at Lake Morena had been closed for bug poison spraying. There was a gazebo open for the PCT hikers and that’s where a lot of people were staying. I decided to keep hiking. It wasn’t that hot and there was a campground with water in a few miles.
The trail parallels a highways for this section. At one point, the PCT comes off the hillside and goes through an underpass.
The best art was some horse drawings but I don’t think those were done by hikers.
I was feeling plenty draggy when I got to Boulder Oaks campground. I decided that I should follow my dad’s advice and take some short days at the beginning. I may have told him that I planned to do 20 mile days straight off. In hindsight that was a little overly ambitious.
One thing that happens when you’re walking through the desert is that it all gets on your legs. Even with the gaitors, my toes were covered with dirt. My legs were filthy. Before getting into my pajamas, I washed off my legs and feet as best I could with a wet bandanna. For dinner I made bean and cheese burritos. A spoonful of mashed potato flakes makes the beans thicker.