Every year a Northern migration of sorts takes place starting in Campo California and traversing 2,650 miles North to the Canadian border. What I am talking about here is the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the through hikers challenging themselves and nature to complete it. Between March and April many hikers begin their journey in a well-planned attempt to beat the weather and enjoy a once in a lifetime opportunity.
For us San Diegan we are lucky enough to have their first leg in our “backyard”. Section A of the PCT is 110 mile section from Campo to Warner Springs California. For many hikers this is their first opportunity to test their metal in our desert environment and begin the first steps of accomplishing their goal.
The first twenty miles is relatively easy with the exception of the last five miles with a decent and accent out of a canyon to the Lake Moreno campground. After that the uphill journey begins as they accent Mt Laguna passing such campsites as Boulder Flats and Cibbets Flats.
Last week I took a ten miler from Cibbets Flats to Lake Moreno and had an opportunity to meet many of the amazing people beginning their journey. A great cross section of positive people from all of the e country and world are represented with eager and smiling faces. The opportunity to stop and talk with these guys and gals is awesome, everything from first time hikers to experienced distance hikers with Appalachian Trail and other significant hikers where there.
I also enjoyed the spring time hiking here with everything still green and in bloom. I was lucky enough to have some good cloud cover and a steady breeze even though I still managed to get some sun. This section is no joke although there is water along the trail I still suggest carrying what you need for the sake of ease. The shade is almost nonexistent and one of the cool things I will have to look into is the umbrellas I saw people carrying.
I had it easy with a downhill hike, I know cheating right but other than making it an easy day it is the best way for me to see the through hikers. The good news for the uphill hikers is waiting for them at Mt Laguna is a postal stop, general store, two great campgrounds and the Pine House Tavern! The Pine House is a great place to stop with a great staff and most importantly the Brandon Burger a sort of chiefs choice burger of amazing and of course iced tea and cold beers. Mt Laguna is the first chance to take a real zero day (no hiking) grab a shower at the lodge and give themselves a break.
One of the amazing things about the PCT is the trail magic and trail angels who support the hikers. I was lucky enough to experience some of it and can’t say enough nice things about these great people taking time to help people achieve an accomplishment like this. I’m looking forward to my chance to help out soon up on Mt Laguna and offer some support. If you are planning on doing some of this trail over the next couple of weeks pack some extra water and snack and maybe do some trail angeling of yourself.
For many of us the PCT might not ever be a doable adventure but for those of un in San Diego section A is there for us and if you get a chance get out there and make your own adventure. This time of year meet some new people and enjoy what our back country has to offer. We will and we hope to run into you Getting the Fox Out There!