At Mt. Laguna Lodge (42.6), a 22.6 mile day
Only one word comes to mind for today's weather: shit-tastic. Woke up at 6 when the stake supporting my tent pole finally gave out. It had done better than I was expecting, shitty loose soil all around my tentsite. It had rained all night, was still raining then, but I was happy to see most of the important stuff was dry inside my dubious Hexamid setup. Got things organized over in the campground bathroom building, where it was warm and dry. Met Lenny and Bow (actual spelling) there. Lenny is my age, from New Zealand, trying to thru-hike with his lady friend Rebecca from England. Bow also my age from Olympia, WA. Headed out with them, immediately lost the trail, realized it after about two miles, farted around for a bit as all our gps and phone devices failed (we did have paper maps too). Eventually we ran into a known streambed and a road, the latter of which took us back to the trail. We missed 4 trail miles, including a climb. Oops.
Weather was okay at this point and for the next few hours--cloudy but dry, 50 degrees or so--but went downhill as we went up. Afternoon was mostly a climb, Lenny and Becca dropped back, and Bow and I basically walked into a 45-degree windy, very rainy cloud layer and it stayed that way for about twelve miles. No stopping, we were too wet and cold. Quickly became clear that it was "hypothermia conditions," as they would say in my WFA class, camping started to look out of the question and we should try to get to Mt. Laguna with its potentially pricy lodging for the night. Got there at 4:30ish, met another dude named Gavin to go in on a cabin with ... $86 split between three was better than I was expecting. At that point my hands were too numb to sign the receipt for the room ... My signature looked like Jack Lew's and was nowhere near the line. This place does have a microwave, fridge and stove, and bed space for three comfortably. And hot showers ... Mmm, hot showers. Dinner, for the record, was two microwaved Cup Noodles, two Budweisers, and 12 Oreos dunked in a pint of whole milk. All bought during cold-and-hunger-shopping at the adjacent store.
Could have dressed better today for the conditions, but they came on gradually enough that by the time I noticed them it was too late and I was soaked. Turns out I'm barely prepared, certainly not ideally, for sustained cold and wet weather. My clothing setup is much better suited for hot dry days and cold nights. Which is what 80% of the days will be out here, just not the first two. Probably not tomorrow either, from what we hear.