Day 4 – Town Day at Mt Laguna
Long Canyon Creek Mile 37.8 to Mt Laguna Campground Mile 47.5
PCT Miles hiked today : 9.7
Feet Ascended Today: 1606
Feet Descended Today: 1480
Current Elevation: 5516
I woke up feeling tired again this morning. I suspect I’m fighting a stomach bug or maybe I ate something that didn’t agree with me. I started the day by hiking the 3 miles up into Mt Laguna for my first real town day! As I got close to town, the landscape changed as I had hiked above 6000 feet to a high desert mountain forest. It’s so nice to see trees again 🙂
First I stopped at the Burnt Rancheria campground for a hot shower. My first shower in 5 days! I washed my clothes in the sink with Dr Bronners soap and hung them to dry off my backpack. In hindsight, I probably should have washed fewer clothes as wet clothing made for a heavy and unwieldy pack.
Next I headed into town and stopped by the Mt Laguna Outfitters. The Outfitters store is renowned amongst hikers as the best gear store along the trail and it did not disappoint. The store caters towards thru-hikers and carries every conceivable piece of gear that a long distance hiker could want – and then some. The store even carries many specialty items I previously only found online. They also provide a cooler of beverages for hikers out front and an experienced hiker was doing gear shakedowns for anyone who needed help. Hiker boxes were overflowing with discarded hiking gear.
Inside the store, the aisles were crowded with so many items that clothing brushed alongside both sides of me as I walked past. I have never seen so many items crammed into such a small space. The staff was quick to assist, however, which was super helpful as I was having difficulty locating items on my own in such a densely packed space. Soon I had some spandex shorts to combat inner thigh chafing, Injinji toe socks to combat toe blisters, an Icebreaker long-sleeved wool shirt to protect my arms from the sun and sun sleeves. Yay!
I still had wet clothes covering my pack so I stuffed the new gear inside as best I could and ambled up the street to the general store where I picked up my first resupply box. At the nearby visitor center I unpacked the box and sorted though all my gear on a picnic table. I had too much food and left some behind in the hiker box. I also decided to mail home 2 shirts and a pocket knife to cut down on my pack weight.
While sorting through my boxes, I ran into another hiker named Jason (trail name: Halfway) who I’ve met previously. I discovered that we both hail from Seattle and used to work for Microsoft – small world. I was feeling a bit better so decided to hike out of town with Jason to a campground about 5 miles up the trail that he’d previously heard of from some other hikers.
Mt Laguna is a lovely town and it was a pleasant afternoon. It took only a couple of hours and soon we reached the campground. We did run into another rattlesnake on the walk – this time it was on the trail directly in front of us. Jason was in the lead, however, and calmly waited for it to slither off the trail.
We found a campsite with about 15 other PCT Hikers and set up camp with them. It was a fun group. I met Janis a.k.a. “Garnet Turtle” (also from Seattle), Gordon a.k.a. “Cool Breeze” from the U.K., Patrick from Alaska, two guys who called themselves “Team Holland” and several others. Patrick had taken a zero day due to an injured knee and had an actual campfire going. It was downright civilized! A very pleasant evening.
Blister Report : I have 6 blisters now and some are getting rather sore to walk on. My feet are also getting tender from the trail as it’s been increasingly rocky since leaving Mt Laguna.