Day 3 – April 16th, 2018
Lake Morena (elev. 3074′) to Cibbets Flats (elev. 4155′)
Mile 20.23 to 33.0
One benefit of going to bed by “hiker midnight” ( 8 p.m.) is you tend to wake up early. Today I t was 05:00. Having said that, there is a clear difference between “waking up early” and actually “getting up early”. In my case it always takes a little longer to actually rise before shining but after listening to a number of dogs barking in the distance and a gaggle of wild turkeys having a lively debate behind some bushes near my tent, I decided it was time to get up. The morning air was cool and a puffy jacket was required to keep the chill at bay. Once up, the first order of business is firing up the MSR pocket rocket to brew a cup of Starbucks coffee with a packet of hot chocolate thrown in for good measure. A little hot water is added directly to a packet of Qi’a cereal and voila, breakfast was served. As incredible as the hike has been thus far, this mornings walk leaving Lake Morena was a pleasure. There was a slight but manageable incline leading to a vantage point which overlooked the lake in the distance. Unfortuneatly, the view also illustrates the effect the California drought is having on lakes and water sources.
The trail remained very gentle as it continued along the meandering Cottonwood Creek.
It seemed like the miles were passing effortlessly and in no time it was time to stop for lunch at Boulder Oaks( elev. 3183′).
Lunch consisted of Tortilla wraps with two types of salmon; Spicy Thai and Lemon Pepper. Hunger hiker hasn’t kicked in yet by those tortilla wraps were delicious !!!!!
While stopped for lunch, some other hikers appeared including
Chunky Monkey from Austria,
Brandon from Jackson Mississippi and Peanut and Cricket from Tennessee, both of whom completed the Appalachian Trail last summer.
After lunch the trail remained level for a short distance as it passed beneath Interstate 8 then began to climb progressively higher until a number of switchbacks led you up and over the hills where the sound of the highway traffic dissipated into the distance.
Before long, the trail became a series of exposed ridges which hung to the sides of the undulating hills and long deep valleys. The wind was cool which was refreshing despite being in the direct sunlight.
As the trail descended into yet another valley, two older couples were setting up camp at Kitchen Creek ( another dry creek). As they were out of water, we left them with three litres of water which would be sufficient to get them safely to the next water stop. They said they were eternally grateful.
A short uphill walk led us to a warning sign.
It appears that in May 2009 a Marine helicopter crashed near this location and the munitions carried by the helicopter were scattered as a result of the crash. Hikers are warned to stay on the trail because of the safety hazard presented by the possibility of unexploded military ordinances in the area.
A half mile downhill walk off the main trail, on a rough dirt road, led to Cibbets Flats campground. The campsite was deserted save for a handful of PCT hikers. As the sun was setting and the evening was becoming uncomfortably cool, I lit a fire in the designated firepit which became the central meeting point over dinner and where we discussed the days events until it was time to call it a day.