In the morning we had breakfast at the Pine Valley cafe in Mount Laguna. The service was slow, but the food was good. I wanted tea, but at $3 I couldn’t justify it, especially since I had a Ziploc baggy of teabags in my pack that I hadn’t even touched.
Afterwards we went to the outfitter where Puppy, a PCT thru hiker from 2013, gave me a much needed pack shakedown. I got rid of most of my stuff sacks and some miscellaneous things like the device I had that lets women pee standing up. I hadn’t used it yet on my hike, but had tried it at home one and it didn’t go well.
My pack base weight was now about five pounds lighter at 19lbs and it felt like a world of difference. To shave more weight, I hikerboxed my Sanuk yoga mat sandals and bought a cheap, light pair of flip flops at the outfitters for $2.50.
In the afternoon we road walked to Mount Laguna campground where I asked the weekend campers for quarters for the showers. As we waited for the sun to move behind the trees and cool down we fed one of the campground squirrels almonds and M&Ms. I laughed as I watched his tiny little hands stuff food into his cheeks.
Around six we left the campground to start our night hike down the mountain. The sunset was gorgeous and the temperature was perfect. Soon we spread out enough that I was on my own, listening to music through one earbud. Every song sounded new and fresh to me in the wilderness.
By the time night feel we were hiking along ridges and contours overlooking what seemed like hundreds of miles of rides and the desert floor. Orange lights lit up the horizon. I wondered what city we were looking at. Mexicali?
We took a break on a windy ridge where we ate and I used my star chart app on my phone to identify the brightest stars and planets in the sky.
Later we passed a rocky ridge in the dark full of plaques and urns – memorials. I felt sad and peaceful, thinking of the family members who wanted to give their loved ones this beautiful view for eternity.
We reached a spur trail with an empty water cache and layed out our sleeping bags in the chapperal. I stared at the stars until my eyes were too tired to stay open, and then I finally fell asleep.