Tenting at Lake Morena (20.0), a 20.0 mile day
Woke up at 5 in our motel in Upland, on the road by 5:45. Breakfast at IHOP in Miramar, where the only other patrons were military men. Then we got stuck in traffic, at 8:30 am on a Sunday ... California ftw. No trouble finding Campo or the trailhead. We were both impressed already by the mountain scenery from the interstate ... Both of us I guess knew it was there in this part of SoCal, but had never tried to picture it.
Surprisingly, there were only about 6 names in the log book at the monument from today, and I got the feeling I was the last one. Started walking at 10 sharp, didn't see a soul for about seven miles, all of which were stupidly easy, helped by the fact that it was only about 65 degrees out with an occasional cool breeze. None of this 90 degree baking sun business.
After 11 miles, caught up to Jeff, dude my age from the Loo. Tall lanky strong looking guy but he's still trying to limit his miles because he's recovering from tibia stress fracture. We bonded over this. Soon ran into John, older fellow also going for a thru-hike who did most of the AT last year. Chatted a bit, then I went on ahead still on to make 20.
Wanted to rest before the Hauser canyon climb, the 1000 foot centerpiece for the day, but couldn't because thunderclouds were gathering, wind picking up and the trail was kind of exposed in that area. It did spit rain for a few minutes, then got off-and-on sun again. Climb was pretty tame, I was surprised how easy everything felt today. At the top, rain started to threaten again and temp dropped about ten degrees. Had to stop a few times and batten down my pack to make sure all the important stuff that normally lives on the outside of my pack (groundsheet, pad, camera, phone) was now waterproofed inside somewhere. Rain did start and didn't let up for about an hour and a half. Set up camp in it, ate dinner in my tent. This has to be one of the saddest first-night thru-hiker gatherings in Lake Morena history ... There are maybe 8 hikers here but everyone is huddled in their own tent instead of the big meet and greet that I figured would be happening on my first night out. It was about 50 degrees the whole time it was raining and afterward ... It's one of the great ironies that I ran away from the Oregon climate, which I often hate with a passion, to the Southern California desert only for the climate to follow me here (and leave it 80 and sunny in Oregon, which it is today).
Feel astonishingly good physically after 20 miles on a first day without a ton of training, but mentally spent. Severely sleep deprived and kind of emotionally exhausted by the past few days. Also somewhat deadened by the weather, although I presume the regular desert stuff will pick back up in a few days.