My alarm was set for 3:45AM again, but I woke up five minutes before that and figured I may as well get started.
Walking under the stars in the desert cool is the most beautiful contrast to the sweltering heat that burns down just a few hours later. And watching the sun rise over mountains is pretty magical too.
I walked for just over an hour before finding a campsite with water. Getting up early and getting a few kilometres under my belt before cooking breakfast seems to be working pretty well, and so I took a good hour break to enjoy my oats and fill up all my water bladders again.
The amount of water I’m drinking is crazy! The past few days I’ve downed 6 litres each day. I could have had more, but am trying to always have more than enough to reach the next water source. I’d rather carry more than I need and just tough out the weight, instead of getting caught out and stuffed.
I’ve seen a few people get hit with dehydration and heatstroke already.. I think I’ve shared out nearly two litres to others who have either ran low or actually run out, and it’s just not worth the gamble in my books.
After I kept walking, it didn’t take long to lose my orientation. The trail ran along a mountain, switched back a bit higher, wound around the other side, switched back around, went up and down and it was impossible to try and figure out which crest I had started from.
The walk itself was a bit of a tease today.
Because I had started early (and not sat under a tree for four hours) there was a fair amount of shade. But then I’d reach the other side of the mountain and be hit with sun again. My temptation was to stop and rest in shady spots, but my brain won out and convinced me it was wiser to walk through the shade while I had it, instead of waste that time and be under the sun for the rest of the day.
They have never looked so inviting, as the shadows around me kept getting shorter and temperatures kept rising.
Not only was the air cooler under their big canopy; even the smell was refreshing.
I reached Mount Laguna just after one, and headed straight for the restaurant.
Salad, mac and cheese and a glass of Coke never tasted so good.
Luckily the waitress didn’t get sick of me; I was sitting there for the better part of two hours before I wandered to the campsite up the road and had a sponge bath and washed out my clothes.
The amount of dirt that came out of my socks was h o r r e n d o u s.
You know your socks are due for a wash when they’re so stiff they stand up by themselves…
They’re better now, don’t worry.
Slowly other hikers filtered in too. I’d only hiked a little ways today, so they had generally come from further behind and therefore arrived later. A group of eight of us were all happy to camp there for the night, so we were able to split the camp fee between us and spend the afternoon drying our fresh laundry, swapping stories, and sharing beer, wine and chips from the general store down the road.
It was definitely the best way to end Day Three.
I’ve poured over the PCT Water Report and Halfmile’s maps (both life savers – literally), and through the next fifty or so kilometres water sources are pretty sparse.
Planning ahead, I think my next few days might also be short ones as I rest my body a little and take it slow, getting ready for the bigger stretches up ahead. Not entirely looking forward to being loaded down with another 8L of water, but like I said – I’d much rather do that than get caught out.
Staying safe, always.