PCT miles hiked today: 16.6
Border patrol! Only day 2, and Joan (henceforth – maybe – to be known as B Tricks), Susan, and I have a *great* story. After our shortened siesta (locale criteria for which are quickly becoming refined), we came upon a border patrol ranger apprehending a suspect (read – illegal immigrant). I was in the lead, and slowed down, unsure if I was walking into a “situation”. The ranger waved me through after asking if I’d seen anyone coming up the trail (I hadn’t). Shortly down the trail we ran into a second ranger sitting on a rock. The poor guy had broken/sprained his ankle and asked to use my trekking pole as a crutch to get down to the road less than a mile away. I had one of my poles in hand and my trusty umbrella in the other. Even though I could have easily given him the pole I was holding, I took off my pack to get the other one strapped on. Why, you may ask? Because the pole I was holding had my favorite duct tape wrapped around it, and in case something happened, I didn’t want to be out the pole with it. Oy, I’m such a hiker. The other ranger and suspect came up at that point and we began a caravan down the mountain. The injured ranger told his partner the second suspect had come up to him, asked if he was ok, and ran off down the hill (not on the trail). Incredible! They were apparently the last 2 in a large group they had been trying to apprehend. We started a slow caravan down the mountain, it was an incredibly surreal experience! Say what you will about the topic of illegal immigrants, the border patrol agents were just doing their job and were incredibly nice guys. Definitely the slowest mile we hiked today, including when the heat was getting to me and I slowed way down.
The day began with a lovely cool climb before the sun rose up from Hauser Creek. The campground at Lake Morena was nice, we hung out for close to an hour getting water, snacking, and chatting with the rangers. In an area full if empty picnic areas, where did we do this, you may ask? Outside the ladies room of course! There was a very convenient low stone wall to sit on :). I also gave Joan her (perhaps) new trail name there, though I’ll let her tell that story on her blog (Rambling Hemlock link)! She did veto my first suggestion.
Some lovely (though exposed and sunny) ridge walks to end the day, and the last hour was delightfully cooler as the sun sank behind the mountains. Camping tonight with the ladies, plus Landy (another solo woman hiker we first met this morning at Lake Morena) and a section hiker couple, Sally & Chuck. The heat adjusting is going slowly for me – after 10 am and until 5 pm I was quite hot at times. I managed to avoid full blown heat exhaustion though my stomach was upset for a while. Gatorade is truly my friend out here. I have only 2 packets of the powder left until Warner Springs, as I’m going through 2 per day in this heat, so I’m hoping the grocery store in Julian carries it, even if I have to carry out a tub.
Count is up to 6 of us in Altra shoes: Acorn, Estero, Ashley, Landy, Joan and I. It’s so neat to see the bear claw sole print on the trail! Animal spots today: 3 bunnies, lots of birds which don’t live at home in Ohio (I am clearly NOT a birder) and countless lizards. Mt Laguna tomorrow for a supplemental resupply (just lunches and snacks needed – bring on the salt!), and we’ll probably camp at the campground as there is a 10 mile+ stretch afterwards with no camping due to a fire a while back, and we still have 10 miles to hike in the morning. Still trying to avoid 20 mile days until after week 1 – the trail is so nicely graded, but gotta let the long term endurance build up, esp with these long water carries and in the heat.
You’d be shocked at how dirty my feet are every night – yowza!