Mile 20 Lake Morena to mile 37.2 (17.2 miles, 27.7km, 9 hrs)
Day 2 of any hiking trip is always tough. The body of sore, unaccustomed to carrying the extra weight of a pack and leg muscles are stiff.
This day was no different. It was tough but just a matter of acknowledging to myself that it was day 2 and this was bound the happen.
I knew I needed a shorter day today. There is no way I could do another 20 mile day. I have to ease into this hike smartly or I’ll suffer the consequences with body fatigue. The end game requires a smart short game.
My ego brain kept saying, “go on, stay with the cool kids, you can push 22 today and make it to Mt Laguna a day earlier than planned, “ but my body was said “are you for real, no way”. Luckily smart brain took control of the situation and agreed, “you are not doing 22 on day 2”.
So today was a matter of toughing it out and giving the body time to adjust to hiking again. I’ve been here before and knew what today was all about.
The sun shone through and boy does it pack a punch. It’s was not even a really super day yet. This desert is going to be challenge.
Battling through tired legs and sore feet it didn’t even take many photos today. While the desert mountains are stunning I was struggling to find motivation. More of the mind games and a shame that I couldn’t recognise the beauty of the landscape today. It will come.
I’ve already resigned to the fact that I need new shoes. My feet flattened and widened on my New Zealand hike, going up two sizes from 9.5 to 10.5 and it was with this in mind that the trail runners I currently have here are 10.5. But already I my big toes are hitting the front of the shoes, particularly when descending and my nails are on the way to going black only 2 days in. This happened in NZ until I went a size bigger. Not sure that there many options however until I reach Idyllwild in around a week. It might be a case of grinning and bearing it until I can get size 11’s.
Today was looked eerily similar to the Larapinta Trail. Very similar vegetation, rocky features and small lizards scampering about. No rattle snakes yet.
One thing this trail has go going for and is just how well constructed it is. Nicely benched out with lots of grade reversals to minimise erosion and beautifully switched back, contouring gradually up and down. Most of today was climbing, gaining 3000ft in elevation but you hardly feel like your climbing.
So I made 17 mile today. I’m sure I could have pushed more but found a nice sheltered camp site with a small flowing creek 30 seconds away. It was perfect and I not passing the opportunity to stay there. I’m sharing the site with young Tristan (21) from California, who has just finished studying neuro-biology at college and enjoying his first extended break.