October 27th, 2018
Mt Laguna mm 42 to mm 18
Distance: 24 miles
1030 – 2000
Sleeping in felt oh-so-good. I slept until 6 am! Then I had TWO coffees and chatted with Zappy and Gail.
Zappy, looking like he has commandeered my backpack and tent
Gail with his toys
Then Stellar arrived and he and Zappy went for breakfast. I was slow to pack up but made it to the PO just as it opened. I bought a few things at the store, which had a good selection, but I no longer needed much. Stellar and I left town together and looked forward to an easy day. We chatted as the miles passed easily.
Honestly, I remember little of the trail from this day. It was mostly downhill and I was feeling pretty euphoric about almost finishing. Everybody in town had made us feel like celebrities. We came to a campground for a late lunch, where I enjoyed the luxury of a sandwich that I had bought at the store. We were just about to leave when a trail angel, Fruit Bowl, invited us over to her site. She and her daughter Tacos and Beer (TA’s are often named for what they give hikers) shared soda, beer, and cookies. We stayed for a good hour and had some interesting conversations. It was nice not to be in a rush. I joked that we were experiencing what it’s like to be a NOBO at the beginning of the hike. There are so many trail angels and towns in the desert, it’s hard to make any progress.
We finally pushed off and had another 6 miles to go to get to our planned destination, Lake Morena. Once again, we would be hiking in the dark but I have gotten used to it and actually even enjoy it. We watched a nice sunset and then relished in a very wide and sandy trail. I had just bought new batteries for my headlamp that morning, but apparently they sold me duds because my lamp was already warning me of low battery status. Well, at least I had Stellar’s shared light and the trail was wide enough to walk side by side.
We arrived Lake Morena to find it kind of rowdy on a Saturday night. There were lots of party people at the campground and motorcycles were buzzing around. We headed for the deli/convenience store to meet up with Zappy for dinner. I had a burger, fries, and coke, pretty standard.
We had thought we might stay at the campground but on second thought, it was better for our last night to be in a more remote and peaceful setting. We hiked for a few miles and ended up on a ridge away from most of the noise and lights. The night was capped with one more stunning moonrise as I set up my tent for the last time. I felt a bit somber and promptly went to sleep.