We hiked a short distance from Hiker Heaven to Casa De Luna. It is a great trail angel home owned by the Anderson’s. They chose the name Casa De Luna (House of the Moon,) because it takes most hikers a month on trail to reach their house. I thought it was so clever! I heard this house could be a party house, full of Hershey syrup wrestling, and games of Edward Fortyhands (where 40 oz beers are duct taped to both hands.) It was actually an extremely mellow night while we were there, and very relaxing. First thing you do when you get there is put on a Hawaiian shirt! The main hang out spot is in the driveway, where lots of chairs are set for hikers to lounge in. Their is a big banner to sign your name, which also functions as a backdrop for photos. The backyard has a disc golf range, shower, and a labyrinth of gorgeous manzanita trees. The manzanita forest is groomed with tons of spots to set up your tent, and some of the spots even have cute camp names. We stayed in one tucked away, called the Lucky Penny. One of the best nights sleep we’ve had on trail! We were fed a huge taco salad buffet for dinner, and oh man was it delicious! A few of us pooped more than usual the next day, but whatever, the food was great! The next day was Mother’s Day, which was kind of hard for me, but it was nice to spend it with a big group of hikers. That morning we were fed pancakes and coffee for breakfast, and once again, the food was awesome!
I could barely sleep at all last night. I was so nervous! Chas and I didn’t finish getting everything put together until a little after 11pm. We checked our packs to make sure we had everything together, then double and triple checked. I finally fell asleep around 1am, and then woke up at 4am to start our very first day hiking the PCT! Chas made me a breakfast sandwich, and we drank our coffee while stretching in his mom’s kitchen. We left to pick up Matt around 5am, and it took about an hour to drive to the Southern Terminus at the Mexican border in Campo, California. We all had butterflies the whole drive. Once exiting the freeway, we had to take dirt roads, winding through what felt like the middle of nowhere. We went up a hill, and saw the monument in the distance. We were almost there. The sun had just started to rise when Chas’ mom dropped us off. She took all our photos, hugged us, and watched us hike onto the trail. I was so happy she was there to send us off.
Once we hit the trail the butterflies went away. It felt like we were supposed to be there. We had to hike to Lake Morena, 20 miles away. It was a hot day, in the 90’s. We met some other hikers along the way, and they were all really friendly. The first 15 miles were decent. The trail went up and down, in the sun, and some parts in the shade. It wasn’t an easy hike, but we were so full of adrenaline that the first 15 seemed to fly by. We took a few breaks where we sat down, and removed our shoes and socks to let our feet air out. We brought lots of snacks, like Snickers, fruit gummies, and Clif bars. The last 5 miles however, were long and brutal. We got to Hauser Canyon, and it looked very intimidating. We hiked down a long steep decent in the shade, and it hurt my aching knees. My legs had started to chafe, and hurt with each step. By the time we got down to the bottom of the Canyon, we were ready for a little break to catch our breath. A hiker popped out from behind some trees. “We’ve got a nice shady area over here!” he yelled to us. His name was Twice, and he and Ed had their pads laid out and were taking a nice long break. They were waiting for the blazing sun to go over the mountain more, so the hike up the canyon would be less treacherous. We decided to join them. We all sprawled out under the big trees and took a nap for about an hour. It was a little after 4pm, and we figured we should get going.
The hike up had no shade covering, and it was a long climb. At first we were okay hiking up, but once we got closer to the top of the canyon, Matt and I weren’t feeling too well. I took out my sun umbrella and gave Matt one of my trekking poles. We took lots of water breaks, but the temperature was still in the mid 90s. Chas had white stuff all over his face and body. It was salt! We were covered in sweat, and very dirty. We met two more hikers on the way up. One had a sun umbrella too, and the cutest gaiters with whales on them. He later introduced himself as Rob. The other hiker, Chance. Once at the top of the canyon, we felt relief. We were closer to Lake Morena! The last few miles felt like eternity. When we finally turned the corner and saw the lake below we all got so excited! We were skipping down to camp (well, more like a limping skip, haha.)
Once we got to camp we were greeted by a hippy girl with dreadlocks dancing. She introduced herself, Rocket Llama. Rocket Llama is a “trailebrity.” She hiked last year and was stranded in her tent in the snow for over a week. Look her up, she’s amazing. At Lake Morena there were about 11 of us. I felt relieved when everyone felt the same way we did. Some hikers never even made it to camp that night. We were all so worn out, but fell so proud of ourselves. We set up our tent while the sun was setting, and we sat down and cooked our dinner in the dark. Chas and I smashed a whole bag of tortillas with rice, beans, and Tapatio. We made 4 little burritos each. So good! Matt crashed hard as soon as he set up his tent. He fell asleep on top of his sleeping bag he was so tired. After dinner Chas and I walked to the camp bathrooms. I noticed a shower, so I hopped in. The water was freezing, but whatever. It wasn’t until I went to turn off the water that I noticed I was able to make the water hot! Haha oh well I was already clean. I fell asleep soon after getting in my sleeping bag. It was a long, but awesome first day!
We woke up on day 2 to some condensation on the inside of our tent from staying in the lower lying area of Lake Morena. The alarm on my watch went off at 6am but we didn’t get up until about 6:45, being tired from the day before. We broke down camp, made some coffee and Chelsea shared some cocoa with Rocket Llama so they could both drink “mochas” and we were on our way by 8am.
The hike out followed some hills that surrounded Lake Morena and down into Cottonwood Creek and through some shrubby oak land and we were at Boulder Oaks Campground by mile 5 for a nice shady break before we started our climb out into the Lagunas.
After about an hour of hydrating, snacking and changing socks we departed with some new friends we’ve made in only one day; Rob, Michaela,Chance, and Rocket Llama. The hike out of Boulder Oaks passed under Highway 8 and made a steady climb up through a scrubby area with very little shade. For the rest of the afternoon we flip flopped with our friends while a couple broke off early and went to Yellow Rose Spring to camp. Our intention for the day was to hike to about Mile 36 for a 16 mile day but the elevation gain and heat was too much. We decided to take the 6/10th of a mile side trail at Mile 33 down to Cibbets Flat Campground for the night.
We dropped down into the campground and were greeted by some campers that informed us that there was a creek that ran through which sounded AMAZING after our long sweaty day. Cibbets Flat had some great sites with large oak trees so we set up in one with a water spigot right in the middle. After hanging out and taking our shoes off for about an hour, Rob and Michaela rolled in and decided to share the site with us. Matt hung out at the site while we all rolled down to check out the creek and wash up a bit. After we came back and cooked up our dinner together and were all in bed by 8PM.