Miles: 20 – Campo to Lake Morena
I wake up after a fitful 4 hours sleeping in trail angel Bob’s trailer. I arrived really late after all my fellow hikers were already asleep so I just lay down in exactly what I was wearing and pulled a blanket over me.
430am was the wakeup call, 5 am 8 of us piled into the 7 seater van (plus packs). My seat is the little space on the ground next to the sliding door. Names are exchanged but it is dark and I have buckleys chance of remembering any.
1 hour and a very numb bum later we arrive at the border. THE BORDER. A massive f-off we’re full metal fence that covers more than half the US border and is 0% effective (well maybe a bit better than that. I actually have no expertise in this, but this is what my fellow hikers tell me). I think it should be a new tough mudder obstacle – jump over this metal fence while we shoot at you.
We take photos, peer through the fence at Mexico, turn to face north then walk.
It is chilly and foggy. Good hiking weather.
The trail divides us pretty quickly and soon I am alone with the sound of my thoughts and my feet crunching. And my heavy heavy pack. The advice for today is 4-5L if you are a strong hiker and know you will make it to lake Morena, or 6-7L if you plan to dry camp (camp where there is no water source) at Hauser Creek. I decide on 6L.
The sun burns through the fog and I get to test out my nifty little sun umbrella. I stop under a tree for a tasty lunch of banana with almond maple butter and put my feet up for 20min. I meet a couple of hikers as they pass me by, doze for about 2 min before ants crawl over my face and pack up.
Finally the trail turns a corner and before me is Hauser Canyon. It’s a giant drop down followed by a giant heart attack climb up. I can make out the tiny specks odd hikers marching up to the top across the canyon. Holy giant canyon batman.
The choices now are hike down the bottom and camp down there at the little campground or continue up the giant hill. I get to the bottom and try to rest my feet for 10 min before deciding. I’m conscious about not overdoing it on my first day and my plantar fasciitis which I am determined to keep at bay.
The decision is made by the little army of midgies that assault me – up I go!!!
I eat a gel, turn on my podcasts and climb the giant hill that never ends.
Until it does. However the next 3 miles until Lake Morena never ever end . I stop a stupid amount of times. I give myself markers where I’m allowed to check my watch and my phone.
Eventually I’m feeling good and hit my stride. I dare to check my phone to see how speedy I’ve been.
Apparently about as speedy as a new born walking. Bugger bugger bugger. I pass a lot of little lizards and some cat tracks!!! I think it’s maybe too small for a mountain lion but it may be a bobcat.
Finally I see a Lake! And buildings! I hike down down down and arrive to the applause of some from the carload this morning. Pitch my tent, check in with the ranger, buy some nutritious fries from the cafe, have a glorious hot shower (it got cooold!), pull on my long johns, cozy down into my sleeping quilt and paaaaassss out.
20 miles done – I pat myself in the back. Only 2640 to go.
Thought of the day: What goes up, must go down. And then up. And then down.