19 April 2008

Note: Casey’s handwriting can be difficult to read. If what you read doesn’t make sense, it is not my fault. I’m not going to make much of an effort to ‘clean-up’ his reports. Also, he asked that I make the blog entry's post date match the date on the letter, so that his letters are displayed in order in which he writes them, not when I (or others) get around to actually posting them.

4/19/2008; 43.0 mile Mt. Laguna.


Starting at 6:20a I hiked leisurely into Mt. Laguna. As I passed Long Canyon, I enjoyed the pine grove, with this shade and a stiff wind, I felt chilled most of the morning. Within an hour of my morning's blister popping, the tape came off in my shoe, rather annoying redressing to follow. And my dry nose started bleeding again. Sure I enjoy hiking but the body is still adjusting.

Since starting two and an half days ago I’ve enjoyed how diverse the environment has been. My “desert-hiking” vision prior to starting was of sandy expanses of exposed paths in blazing sun. However, along my 43.0 miles thus far I’ve seen various flowers, Yucca, lilacs and others. The trail is lined a parts with trees and bushes of heights from stubbly sage brush, then short smooth-red mountain Magoheny to even towering mountain pines.

The trail’s terrain and tread has been rather hiker friendly. I can look up and out at the rolling mountains or abandoned air force bases 80% of my hiking time, this is up from 50-60% of my AT hike. As I look down into valleys from on high, boulders are strewn like salt and pepper in a bush salad. Sometimes I’ll scramble up a sloped boulder for a 360 view.

Birds and lizards are the majority of wildlife so far. I can tell temperatures are rising when birds stop chirping. On my first day from Mexico’s border I caught a glimpse of a mountain quail running across PCT’s sandy tread. Ravens often are the only thing interrupting the tint of blue. Hikers near me have mentioned rattle snakes, but I haven’t seen one yet. As I was reclining in front of Mt. Laguna store, four deer ran across my view. The melody of creation is nurturing to heart & mind.

My body is adapting as expected. Some blisters on my right foot, and my hips are tight when I start up after a break. With my loose and light colored clothing, I’ve prevented major sunburn. However, my lips and cheeks are a bit tender from exposure in Warner Springs and at kick-off party.

Yesterday, I spoke with no other hikers and camped alone. Only at the end of my light 12.4 miles did I talk with campers at Cibbets Flat Campground, where I got water. Seeing people was very satisfying after having a post-first day emotional/physical crash.

My New Balance 908 shoes are working well. And I’m really glad to have a down coat because the nights are abruptly cold after being in sun all day. But my last minute shirt switch in San Diego has been the best gear so far. My ExOfficio white sun shirt (no longer white) is cool and breezy and light. Plus under the arms, from cuff to bottom hem, is one-inch band of mesh.

Well my 3+ hour break in Mt. Laguna is nearly up. I’ve sent myself too much food, and this weight is making the next steps seem overwhelming. I'll write after kick-off.


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