Last night I met a new friend from Nashville named Kristen who was solo hiking. She was the first solo lady I had met. Unfortunately, her husband was at home but will be her full support team. We immediately bonded and were pretty much gear twins. We decided to hike out super early this morning at 4am. All of the incline felt pretty awesome. We did about 9 miles to Mount Laguna. It was our first trail and we were super stoked!
As we entered the campground where you exit into Mt. Laguna, I ran into a nice young fellow who asked if my name was Karen. He was an Australian named Lachlan and we were already Instagram friends haha. I really love his photos. There's been so many international hikers out here! From there, we all walked as hiker trash into the town of Mt. Laguna where we stopped at the restaurant in town. I walked in and saw my friends I hadn't seen in a day! Mike/Jackie and Nate/Megan. It's such a great feeling when you start seeing the same people from each wave. I feel like each day there are so many people and we just end up leap frogging each other. We ended up exchanging numbers because that's probably the best way to see where we all are.
I ordered a special $5 hiker frittata and zoned out on my phone checking all my emails and errands. The cafe ended up feeling claustrophobic and I just wanted out. The lady at the counter seemed super irritated that it was hiker season. I did what I could on my phone and charged a bit and walked over to the Lodge Store where my resupply was sent to. There was a line of backpacks and hikers all under the shade of the doorway. I picked up my very package and it felt like home! There were so much good food I had sent myself (for now). I think I ended up sending too much so I threw a few things in the hiker box which looked extremely contaminated. I dare not to dig through there. I also ordered a Zpacks poncho/groundsheet that came in. I noticed that if you don't watch yourself in town, you can easily get sucked into the vortex so it's best to get out quick.
I spread out all my stuff on the ground and organized everything for quite awhile. I finally decided to head out in the heat around 2pm and realized I didn't have my trekking poles. I was pretty sure I left them at the restaurant and thankfully they were still there! I went back and connected on the trail and hiked out 6 more miles until the Laguna Campground. The terrain this day changed SO much. All of a sudden, I was in the mountains and was doing ridge walks. I met a man from Germany named Tusten (sp?) who hiked out to the CG with me. The road walk to the site was TOUGH. Man, today was my longest day so far coming in at 15 miles and my feet were hurting. My lower back also was bugging. I was so ready to just pass out. I don't like arriving to camp so late because I don't have any sunlight to rinse/dry my clothes and do chores. I ate my soaked rice and quinoa and plotted tomorrow's long stretch of no water till mile 68.