19th April 2015 18.8 miles

Bush camp (33.9) to Picnic Area (52.7)

I had a restful sleep finally at my small solo campsite on the side of the trail high up on a ridgeline. I was hiking by 7am and with purpose. My goal was Mt Laguna at mile 41.5. I smashed out the 7.6 miles uphill without a rest break. Part way up the trail I was joined by Dennis from Miami and Grace from Scotland. Thet both passedy campsite just before sunset the night before and camped just a couple of miles from me. They were setting a cracking pace. We all had food cravings that needed to be quenched.

The omelet with all the trimmings was bought out at 10am. It didn’t disappoint. The 3 of us lazed around Mt Laguna for a while, checking out the fully stocked outdoor store. If that place hasn’t got it, you don’t need it. I reckon they do good business at this time of year.

myself, Dennis and Grace enjoying breakfast


After several hours of rest I set off alone from Mt Laguna. The trail traverses High alpine desert mountains with dry desert below. The area had a fire not too long ago and was still fire scared. The diversity of flowers was stunning. I sat under a large pine tree that had thousands of holes drilled into it by woodpeckers. Why do woodpeckers make the holes? I have had several different answers, please let me know. Some of the holes had acorns in them some didn’t. I was chilling out, listening to the wind and buzz of bees and other insects doing there thing, it was tranquil. Then I was startled by the sound of something crashing into the ground only about 5 meters away. It was a bird of prey, maybe a Falcon. It must have been swooping on some game, but missed.


question. why do woodpeckers do this?


During the late afternoon I hiked with Cheetah from Calgary and Honest Abe from Tahoe. That’s their trail names not real names, I’ll explain later. Cool dudes who hiked the Appalachian Trail a couple of years ago.

cheetah hiking past the 50 mile mark


After more than 18 miles I thought I should stop for the night. I still had loads of energy but thought it prudent to throttle back in case I risk blisters or worse. And yes I do have blisters and a nasty rash. Ouch. I spent the night sleeping on top of a picnic table under the stars. True homeless person style. Apparently it’s called ‘Cowboy Camping’ in this part of the world. In Australia, we just call it ‘camping’.

dirt and taping the feet to prevent blisters


home for the night sleeping on a park bench



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14 Responses

  1. Girl Gone Expat

    Beautiful flowers. The first flowers look much like the Indian paintbrush we have here. Those woodpeckers are some busy bees:) Nice camping spot you found yourself there.

  2. Karen

    Really like the pictures of the flowers. Beautiful scenery. Your foot – not so beautiful. I’m really enjoying my vicarious trip. Thanks

  3. Sally

    Hi Brad!! So excited thread your blog! Cowboy camping, trail names, desert hiking challenges. I have read a lot about the PCT experience, I can’t wait till it’s my turn next year, 2016. I am enjoying your photos and hearing about your 1st days on the trail. How cold is it at night? Do you feel safe? Is it lonely? These are my personal fears. That is why I am asking. PS GREAT PHOTOS

    • Sally

      Thanks for the reassurance Brad. Keep on crushing that trail, like we have seen you do!

  4. Jill

    Thanks so much for your blog. I’m planning to do this section soon. It’s practically in my backyard so I’ve hiked around there a lot already. As for the flowers, in case you are curious, you’ve got paintbrushes (the red ones), Western Wallflower (the yellow ones with 4 petals), and checkerbloom (the light pink ones). Plus it looked like your pic of Cheetah hiking had Our Lord’s Candle in it (Hesperoyucca whipplei). The little pink ones you had lower down are manzanita. I can’t tell what the purple one is. I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw a lot of a white flower called Summer Snow in that area as well.


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