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Day 3 Blooming High Desert – Mt Laguna

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PCT High desert

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19th April 2015 18.8 miles

Bush camp (33.9) to Picnic Area (52.7)

Mt Laguna PCT

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. They both passed my 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 Pacific Crest Trail was making us hungry.

Mt Laguna

The omelet with all the trimmings was bought out at 10am. It didn’t disappoint. The 3 of us lazed around Mt Laguna PCT 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.

Mt Laguna
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.

Mt Laguna desert flowers
Mt Laguna desert flowers
Mt Laguna desert flowers
Mt Laguna desert flowers
Mt laguna desert flowers
Woodpecker holes
question. why do woodpeckers do this?
acorn
woodpecker holes
mt laguna pct
mt laguna pct

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.

Mt Laguna PCT
Mt Laguna PCT
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’.

Blisters PCT
dirt and taping the feet to prevent blisters
Cowboy camping
home for the night sleeping on a park bench

Next : Day 4 – The heat was hot 22.3 miles (75)

The Best information about the Pacific Crest Trail:
Complete Guide to the Pacific Crest Trail
Resupply Guide for the PCT
PCT Gear List

PCT Gear Review

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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16 thoughts on “Day 3 Blooming High Desert – Mt Laguna”

  1. The woodpeckers don’t actually eat the acorns, they are waiting for a certain kind of larva that eat the oak nut to grow inside, then they’ll feast on the little buggers.

    Reply
  2. 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.

    Reply
  3. 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

    Reply
    • Hi Sally, I’ll answer those questions in the next couple of days int blog posts. You have nothing to worry about, you got this

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

    Reply
  5. 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.

    Reply

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