Location- Lake Morena
Elevation- 3000 feet
Distance Traveled Today- 14.3 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 20.2 miles
Weather/Temp- cloudless/ 70-80
Pain level- zero
My first night on trail was a good one. I was little depressed about not getting to use my hammock, but the ground was good to me last night. The temperature dropped into the upper thirties, but I can honestly say I never felt cold once with my 20 degree Quilt draped over top of me.
I woke up once at 3:30 am to what sounded like a distant flock of geese. I don’t know what it was for sure, but upon listening for a while, I determined it wasn’t geese, and it wasn’t far away. Very unique sound, however I fell back to sleep rather quickly and was up with the sun a little before 6am.
CatFox slept soundly by my feet, and surprisingly didn’t wake me up by trying to cuddle up to my face. The three of us were hiking by 6:20 am.
The trail was amazing! Hard packed sand, with more gradual climbs and descents. Not once did I have to stop for being short of breath, or burning muscles. It was an excellent change of pace from the AT. There were a few rocky areas, but nothing too bad.
All morning the air was cool with a strong breeze, but once 11 am rolled around, all the shadows disappeared, and the temperature began to soar. The breeze helped, but having the sun constantly beating down on you was draining, especially while walking at a brisk pace.
Katana didn’t fuss once throughout the entire hike; she was a total trooper. Her day was occupied with chasing blue belly lizards and fat squirrels off the trail. She was once again better than television.
As we strolled among the manzanita, I was lucky enough to spot two jet black garter snakes with a yellow stripe down their spine as they shot off into the rocks, as well as a pretty big California Alligator lizard. That was very nostalgic, because I used to catch them as a little kid growing up in central California.
The trail was so agreeable, that we finished up the 14.3 miles that landed us at the Lake Morena campground before 12:30
We found a nice oak tree to lay under for about 3 hours throughout the rest of the heat of the day. When 4 pm rolled around, we decided to just stay for the night. We had water readily available, trees to hang on, and a respectable amount of miles already behind us.
I stated yesterday with 8 liters of water; by the time we reached Morena, I had drank 5 liters, and didn’t feel like I was “wanting” for more. I’m feeling pretty good/comfortable about the water situation right now. Katana drinks about an eighth of a liter of water every hour, sometimes more. Anytime she leaves any left over in her bowl, I pour it on her neck and rub it in as a way to help her beat the heat a little more. She doesn’t appreciate my efforts, but it’s for her own good. Maybe she’ll start drinking all of it…
I’m hanging in the hammock tonight, as comfortable as comfortable gets. There were some coyotes calling earlier, but now it’s just the random, chirping bat, fluttering overhead. Not nearly as bad as a whippoorwill….
We plan to get an early start again tomorrow, go as far as we can before noon, siesta, then start again at 4, and see how far we get.
Thus far, this trail has been very enjoyable, and the learning curve considerably less than my first thru hike. Although it’s only the second day, I have high hopes for the future. Or maybe I’m just jinxing myself….