New Years in Mt. Laguna

2014!

2014!

Happy New Years! 2014!

I have never spent New Years Eve in the mountains before last night. In fact, I rarely can stay awake until midnight. Last night however, after Chas and I got home from work, we packed up my car and headed for the hills. We met our two friends, Matt and Sean in Mt. Laguna, who already had a campfire roaring and Matt’s popup trailer set up. It was a great New Years Eve, with beer, chips, hot chocolate, and homemade moonshine. Every time Chas and I camp in Mt. Laguna, the campsites are mostly empty. It was actually busy last night though, with lots of younger groups and people loud up until midnight. We finally crashed around 3am, and the low for the night was 32 degrees. Matt’s pop-up trailer, The Duck, kept us warm through out the night, and in the morning Chas woke me up with a nice hot cup of coffee. I forgot to bring some sugar, so I stirred a small spoonful of Cookie Butter in my coffee instead.. Yum!

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Matt's pop-up trailer aka The "Duck"

Matt’s pop-up trailer aka The “Duck”

After breakfast the four of us went for on a nice 8.5 mile loop. We started on the Big Laguna trail, and got to walk along the beautiful Laguna Meadow. We hiked along the trail until we had to cross over Sunrise Highway, and then continue until we got onto the PCT. I found a really big pine cone on the trail, and hiked with it for awhile. It was huge! I wanted to take it home to add to my collection of super-amazing pinecones, but Chas had a better idea. He had me hide it that way when we are hiking in April on our thru-hike, I could see if it’s still there! We continued our hike up to Monument Peak, and enjoyed the gorgeous view.  It was a clear day, so we were able to see the Salton Sea, and the wind farm really well. With all the hiking we’ve been doing, it’s exciting that I can spot all the places we’ve been. I can easily locate Whale Peak and where Agua Caliente are out in the desert. I can point out Garnet Peak, Stonewall Peak, Cuyamaca, and Ghost Mountain! After we summited Monument Peak, we headed North on the PCT to Foster Point. It had been awhile since we had hiked to Foster Point, and it’s so different since the recent Chariot Fire ripped through in August. What was once a narrow trail through thick walls of Manzanita is now a charred moonscape. After Foster Point we headed back to our campsite. I felt like I could keep hiking for hours, but we all had to head home. It was such a wonderful day, with perfect weather, and great company.

Here’s to a wonderful New Year! Happy 2014!

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Chelsea’s huge pinecone

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Chas next to a tree packed with acorns

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Burnt pine tree with pinecones at the top

Burnt pine tree with pinecones at the top

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