Day 3

Day three would be our friend Matt’s last day on the trail with us and we were sad to see him go. Good thing it was a pretty epic day. We woke up at Cibbets Flat at around 6am and started breaking camp and making our breakfasts. By 7am or so we would be making the climb back up to the PCT and heading North toward Mt Laguna, which holds a special place in our hearts because its our favorite local place to hike, and the place we had our realization that we would actually make hiking the PCT happen this year.

Yikes!

Yikes!

Almost to the lodge

Almost to the lodge

IMG_9338[1]

I see the desert!

I see the desert!

IMG_9340[1]

This was a big caterpillar!

This was a big caterpillar!

The hike for the day climbed steadily toward Mount Laguna until we reached the Mount Laguna Recreation Area and we started to see and smell the pine trees. By Mile 43 we exited at Desert View Picnic area and made a short road walk to the Lodge to pick up our resupply package. Everybody indulged in frozen pizza and burritos on the porch of the lodge, and Matt bought us popsicle’s. Chelsea’s friend Katie came up to see us while we were at the lodge and brought us cookies! It was so great to see a familiar face, even just after 3 days. THANKS KATIE!!!! Matt got picked up and it was sad to see him go, but having a friend for the first few days was a great part of this experience and we have missed him since!

Our first resupply!

Our first resupply!

Matt waiting for his ride

Matt waiting for his ride

Twice, Micaela, Chance, Rob, Chelsea, and Chas

Twice, Micaela, Chance, Rob, Chelsea, and Chas

Katie and Chelsea

Katie and Chelsea

We hung out and reloaded our packs until about 3:30pm when Super at the Laguna Mountain Sport and Supply would be doing a “Shakedown” of everybody’s packs to try to loose some overall weight. He was able to shake about 2lbs from each of our packs. It doesn’t sound like much, but for 2663 miles it adds up.
We didn’t get done with the shake down until about 7pm and we were really antsy to get some more miles in since we had only done 10 and had rested for the afternoon. So we decided with Rob and Michaela that we would hike through the night to the Laguna Campground at around Mile 48. We left Super’s and went and made some dinner at the Desert View Picnic area in the dark and were back on the trail around 9pm.

So many of these guys!

So many of these guys!

Hiking in the dark is a totally different experience, with a headlamp you can only see so far, and yet you see things you wouldn’t in the day. We saw many toad out on the trail and even the silhouette of an owl on top of a tree in an area recently burned. The burn area was especially eerie at night. A few months ago at the junction of the PCT and the Big Laguna Trail Chelsea left a large pinecone hidden so she could find it when we through hiked the PCT. We stopped for a break at this junction and she found her pinecone. This event led to her getting her trail name; “Sugarpine”

Sugar Pine with the pinecone from new years day!

Sugar Pine with the pinecone from new years day!

We rolled into the Laguna Campground at about 11:45 and the temperature really dropped by the time we got there. At this point it felt like a death march and we couldn’t wait to get into our sleeping bags. We made it through the freezing night and were thankful that we did make it another 5 miles ahead that night..

Valentine’s Camping

IMG_84971

Our Tent

Chas and I went camping in Mount Laguna last week. We camped the same night that we met our friends for a full moon hike. We love the Laguna Campground, so it was the perfect place to camp and celebrate Valentines Day. We finally got to test a lot of our gear too!

What kind of gear did we test?

Tarptent Double Rainbow

IMG_85121

Our tent

(Features from Tarptent.com)

  • Free-standing (with trekking poles) or staked
  • Hybrid bathtub floor — clip / unclip floor walls for splash, space, views, and airflow
  • Dual netting doors for views, airflow, and insect resistance; bug proof when zipped up Dual beaks shield rain, provides gear storage
  • Fast setup — 2 minutes from sack to pitched
  • Small packed size — removable strut for stuffing
  • Taut pitch resists wind, sag, and storms; integrated line tighteners
  • Reflective spectra cord guylines included

Therm-a-rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Pad

IMG_84911

Sleeping bags, Z Lite pads, and my sleeping pants

Chas has been using his for awhile, but it was my first time. It in no way compares to our super comfy bed, but  it offers a little more cushioning than sleeping on the ground does. Why the Z Lite? It’s ultralight and easy to pack. Some hikers cut 1/4 of it off to save weight (and just use an empty pack for padding under their feet.)

  • Fold up easily like an accordion.
  • Has heat trapping “dimples”
  • ThermaCapture™ coating that reflects radiant heat (this is supposed to increase warmth by 20%)
  • Foams are softer on top for extra comfort and denser on the bottom for extra durability.
  • Ultralight
  • Weighs 10 oz.
  • Made in USA

Western Mountaineering UltraLite 20 Degree Down Sleeping Bag

We’ve already used these bags a few times. We bought these for each other as Christmas presents. I love this bag! We used our clothing “stuff sacks” as pillows.

  • Weighs 1 lb 13 oz
  • 16 oz down fill
  • Rated for temperatures down to 20 degrees
  • Full down collar to help trap heat around your neck

Sleepwear 

For sleeping we each have a set of long underwear, or a base layer. This consists of a top and bottoms. We chose to use Patagonia Capalene 3. They were really comfy, and paired with my sleeping bag I stayed nice and warm! This base layer with be used just for sleeping so they don’t get dirty and smelly. Some details from the website:

  • Stretchy double-knit fabric wicks extremely well
  • Smooth face slides easily beneath layers
  • Fabric brushed for warmth, softness and compressibility
  • Self-fabric crewneck for next-to-skin comfort
  • Thumb loops for secure hand coverage

Jetboil Sol Ti

IMG_84951

Jetboil, coffee, and a h2o bottle

We were originally going to go with an alcohol stove that uses denatured alcohol and weighs almost nothing. But because of how dry it is this year, and the risk of wildfires, many National Forests are considering putting a ban on them because they don’t have an off switch. So we decided to use the Jetboil. We also got a french press attachment piece for morning coffee ( I know, sounds silly but we’re trying to cut weight in so many places that I feel we earned this and we really really love coffee.)

  • Holds .8 L
  • Includes burner, cook pot, pot support, canister tripod
  • Lightest Jetboil cooking system
  • Very fast heating rate (a little over 2 min)
  • Excellent fuel efficiency
  • Excellent cold resistance

We woke up on Valentine’s Day in our tent, a little sore from all the hiking during the week, but nice and warm. Chas made us coffee with the new french press accessory and it didn’t really work. The coffee grounds came up the sides of the filter, but whatever. We just let the ground sink to the bottom and enjoyed some cowboy coffee.

IMG_85141

Chelsea and her coffee

We packed up our tent and gear, and loaded up our backpacks. It didn’t take long to breakdown camp. I’m excited to see how fast we can do it once we get more practice. We went on a little hike along the PCT from Pioneer Mail Picnic Area to the big boulder field around mile 56. On the map it’s listed as a small campsite in boulder field. We ate a bar and relaxed for a bit before turning around and hiking back. It was a really hot day, and I wish I had brought my sunhat. We tried out our new long sleeve button-up shirts. They’re supposed to keep you cool and protect you from the sun. It will take some getting used to. I felt like I should be leading a Girl Scout troop, but Chas said I looked cute.

IMG_85151

Pioneer Mail Picnic Area

IMG_85221

Chas with the desert behind him

IMG_85281

Chelsea at mile marker 55

IMG_14351

Enjoying a snack at the boulders

After our hike we stopped by the Mount Laguna Lodge and got some ice cream. We also went to the Mount Laguna Sport and Supply in hunt for a sun umbrella. A thru-hiker we met up in Tuolumne Meadows last year spoke highly of his sun umbrella he picked up in Mount Laguna for the desert sections. The owner Dave (Super) had one! He was very friendly and helpful. He informed us of some hikes he leads up in the mountains, and also told us he could do a gear shakedown and help us rid ourselves of unnecessary weight.

IMG_14411

Super’s Store

With how busy we have been lately I’m glad our camping trip went so well. It has been almost two weeks since we left our jobs to pursue this dream. Since the full moon hike and our camping trip we have been packing up our apartment and moving stuff into storage which hasn’t left us with much time to go on a long hike and we’re starting to itch a little. This weekend we have a 16 hour Wilderness Medicine course that is all day Saturday and Sunday which is going to be really fun and informative. Then after next week when we’re out of our apartment; it’s long hikes, backpacking and re-supply shopping!