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Begins: Apr 20, 2012
Date: Sat, Apr 21st, 2012
Start: Hauser Creek
End: Fred Canyon Rd
Daily Distance: 17.2
Trip Distance: 33.0
Entry Visits: 344
Journal Visits: 12,132
Guestbook Views: 476
Guestbook Entrys: 2
Where He Does Not Swim, Leaves Beavercheeks and 2 Bagels, and Protects Moss from an Imaginary Mountain Lion
Moss and I camped in a big cleared-out turnaround up the dirt road that runs along Hauser Creek. It was a nice flat spot, free of the tall shrubs and patches of poison oak that drove us from the trailside campsites. I had a little trouble sleeping at first, because of some traffic on the dirt road--at first we assumed they were US border patrol vehicles (we had already seen many), but when a passenger in one of the trucks yelled "happy 4-20" we figured some of them were just partyers. After the traffic abated and I cooled myself by pouring water on my head I slept pretty well.
I woke up at about 7 AM and made hot coffee. Moss headed down the dirt road to the trail before me and found Beav and Tim (2 bagels) there. The climb out of Hauser Creek was very hot by 9:00, pretty much as soon as the sun hit the hillside. It was probably the first challenging climb of the trip.
Most people would say that the heat is the biggest problem of the desert section, but I think it's the lack of shade. Unlike the Southeast, if you can find shade on a hot day in the arid Southwest you'll find it feels much cooler. I didn't realize that until I started hiking the PCT. Several other hikers had the same idea I did: to complement the precious and priceless Water Report (which lists water sources [streams, caches, public fountains, etc] in the dry Southern California sections and includes recent hikers' comments) there should be a Shade Report.
It was 4.6 miles from Hauser Creek to the Lake Morena Campground (where the ADZPCTKO, the kick off, happens), and we got there at around 11 o'clock. Even with a full bag of food, as soon as Moss and I reached the semi civilization of the car campers I wanted to Yogi food. I know from hiking the AT that, no matter what food you've packed, as soon as town food is available everything in your bag is worthless. Not that it was an epiphany--who wouldn't be drawn to the smell of grilled food when you've been carrying the same granola bars, stale tortillas, and dehydrated chili for days? But alas, there was no Yogi-ing. Neither was there any swimming. We had talked about jumping in the lake, but were told that swimming is prohibited at Lake Morena. I settled for a cold shower in the campground restroom, which was wonderfully refreshing.
Among the car campers, Moss recognized Weebee's parents by their very recognizable Kermit green VW van, which she saw when they left Weebee at the border yesterday. They offered us cold sodas and some of their shade, and soon we were joined by the Beav, Tim, Weebee and Stride. We lazed around until 1:00, when it was even hotter, and then decided to leave. To extend our comfort for a few minutes, we doused ourselves, clothes and all, with the campground's water spigots.
We took several shade breaks in the following few hours, and then a long break at the Boulder Oaks camp. The heat took away our appetites, and left Beavercheeks and Tim dozing off on the ground under a big shade tree. But it was only 4:00, so Moss and I had to leave them behind. We walked almost 7 more miles into the night. I hadn't planned to night hike so early in the trip (I have some bad memories of night hiking on the AT), but it was a beautiful night--the air was cooler and the stars were brilliant.
It didn't take long for Moss to start voicing her fear of being the victim of a mountain lion attack. I have to say the idea scared me too. Being the bigger man, I let Moss walk in front of me while we both kept talking to scare away any would-be feline stalkers. I made the questionable choice of telling her about a grisly episode of "I Shouldn't Be Alive" I saw a while ago. In it a mountain biker turns a corner on a trail in Southern California and finds an abandoned bike. It belonged to a biker killed by a lion, and the same lion, protecting it's kill, pounced on the rider investigating the scene. A third rider arrived to find the lion dragging the second rider off the trail by his head. (The second rider was the storyteller and the one who "Shouldn't Be Alive.") Needless to say this didn't quell Moss's fears, but we made it safely to Fred Canyon rd--a dirt road that leads to Cibbetts Flats campground. Being too tired to walk the mile down to the campground, we cowboy camped on a small flat spot right next to the road.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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