Day 2 – April 15th 2018
Hauser Creek (2317′) to Morena Lake (3074′)
Mile 15.26 to 20.23
Despite Hauser Creek being dry, the residual moisture in the ground allows the trees and surrounding bushes to be lush and green, a true oasis which makes for a perfect camping spot. The only drawback is the steep descent to the valley floor following a long day which requires a steep climb back out first thing in the morning. And because of the steep walls surrounding the oasis, it takes time for the sun to reach the bottom which means that by the time you ascend to the top of the trail, you are back in the hot desert sun. The next five miles takes you along rocky ridges through chaparral and the occasional colourful dessert flower.
Immediately after taking this picture I turned to resume walking when I realized I was sharing the trail with a new friend; a four foot Western Diamondback rattler !!!! After staring each other down for about ten minutes, he decided to amble off ( if that’s what snake do) and exited the trail stage left, allowing me to carry on. It was the first rattle snake I have ever seen and quite honestly, it was beautiful. I was also glad that our introduction occurred the way it did versus being startled by a sudden and loud rattle when you’re a foot away from one hiding in a bush on the side of the trail. I don’t think my heart would react well to that ( and I only have one pair of underwear)
About an hour later, the trail emerged into Lake Morena and as is customary, most hikers walk directly to the general store for a snack and to replenish supplies. After two Gatorade’s ( it was hot and I was thirsty), a double bacon cheeseburger and root beer ice cream float ( I was also hungry – don’t judge me) it was time to make some decisions: carry on and make a few more miles or call it a day. Well, I decided a few more miles were in order so after a fairly long break in the shade of the general store among new friends, I slipped the pack back on a headed Back to the trail. Little did I know the trail actually parallels the little state park on the edge of town where there were quiet a number of hikers already setting up camp. I thought to myself, well, it is getting late, there’s some awful nice folk here and there are hot showers and picnic tables available, well that was it. Change of plans. I decided to stay. One thing I’ve been told is that when you’re on the PCT, you’ve got to be flexible. Well, I just got flexible !!!!! After setting up the tent, having a hot shower and munching down a Moutain House meal ( it had been a couple of hours since I last ate – don’t judge me ….) it was time to call it a day.
Sean (New Mexico), Wes (Louisiana), Marc (Switzerland).