Day Six: Mile 71 to the San Felipe Hills

Today’s section of the Pacific Crest Trail was in Anza-Borrego State Park and the desert was full of blooming flowers and cactus. A very warm but beautiful day of hiking.

This morning we hiked six miles to a highway intersection called Scissors Crossing, where we met our friend JJ. He is working on a photo project about PCT hikers and has been posting excellent work online at He also brought us three gallons of cool water from Julian, which was very much appreciated.

It was a steep climb into the San Felipe Hills with packs heavy from the water, but it was amazing to see all the blooming flowers along the trail.

We camped under the stars again tonight and according to my astronomy app, watched the International Space Station shortly after sunset.

Another wonderful day on the trail.

Photo: A warm but beautiful hike through the blooming ocotillo and other cactus in the San Felipe Hills.

Trail Date: Tuesday, April 8th

Mileage: 15 miles


Day Five: PCT Mile 56 to Mile 71

Today the Pacific Crest Trail descends down from Mount Laguna toward a highway intersection called Scissors Crossing. We had been camping at about 5,200 feet elevation and will be dropping to around 2,200 feet tomorrow.

It was relatively easy downhill walking most of the way. The chaparral was greener than I expected considering the drought we have been experiencing here in California. Wildflowers and cactus are starting to bloom.

The weather is forecast to be warmer tomorrow and combined with the lower elevation it may be a very warm day tomorrow.

Photo: Cactus blooming as the PCT descends towards Scissors Crossing.

Trail Date: Monday, April 7th


Day Four: Mount Laguna to PCT Mile 56

Today was perfect hiking weather as we departed the luxury of the Mount Laguna Lodge and returned back to the Pacific Crest Trail.

Our packs are heavy with four and a half days of food to carry us to our next resupply in Warner Springs, 68 miles by PCT to the north.

The trail traverses across the top of the Laguna Mountains with amazing views of the vast Anza Borrego Desert below.

Several miles of the trail passed through the 2013 Chariot Fire burn area, which was sad, but at the same time interesting to see plants blooming and wildlife returning.

We camped alone for the first time tonight and this was the first night away from roads or civilization. It was a beautiful clear night and we slept out under the stars.

Photo: Amazing views of the Anza-Borrego Desert from the PCT.

Mileage: 14.6 miles


Day Three: Yellow Rose Spring to Mount Laguna

Today we awoke to rain, mist, and drizzle. Rain was not forecasted, but we were not surprised because of the clouds from the previous afternoon.

It felt like the coldest day yet on the Pacific Crest Trail, even though it was actually about 10 degrees warmer than the previous two mornings. After a few hours the drizzle stopped and the hiking was considerably more pleasant.

We reached Mount Laguna by mid-afternoon and stopped by the outfitter who was holding a supply box for us and then checked in to the Mount Laguna Lodge. Quite a few hikers are here tonight.

Photo: Deb in the mist on the trail to Mount Laguna.

Mileage: 11.3 miles

Hiker Tip: Always be prepared for cold wet weather on the PCT.


Day Two: Hauser Creek to Yellow Rose Spring

We got an early start on the Pacific Crest Trail this morning, departing Hauser Creek shortly after 6 am. It was another chilly morning and our gear was covered with condensation and frost. We need to work on our technique for packing up wet tents in the dark — I’m sure this won’t be the only time we have to do that.

We had an excellent breakfast at the Oak Shores Grocery in Lake Morena Village.

The mild daytime temperatures continued today as we hiked past Boulder Oaks and then up Kitchen Creek. We found very nice camping and good water 4/10 of a mile north of the PCT near the Yellow Rose Spring.

Photo: Deb and our small tent near the large trees at Yellow Rose Spring.

Mileage: 14.8 miles

Hiker Tips: We started the PCT with just 1.5 days food and resupplied at Lake Morena Village. This worked very well for us. The Oak Shores Grocery is now serving excellent food. We had breakfast there and ordered sandwiches that were large enough for both lunch and dinner. It’s only another 1.5 days to Mount Laguna, so you don’t need to carry that much food.


Day One: Campo to Hauser Creek

Today we began a long walk. A 2,660 mile walk from the Mexican border to the Canadian border on the Pacific Crest Trail.

White Jeep gave us an early morning ride to the Southern Terminus of the PCT (thanks White Jeep), where about 30 other hikers also started hiking today. A surprisingly large number considering how early in the hiking season it is. The hikers spread out pretty quickly, and we spent the day leapfroging with a half dozen other hikers who walked about the same pace as us.

We decided to only go as far as Hauser Canyon the first day. Our plan is to hike a relatively easy 15 mile per day pace for the next three weeks. Plus, this sets us up to spend Saturday night at Mount Laguna (mile 42).

Mileage: 15.4 miles

Hiker Tips: No water in Hauser Creek. We carried 5 liters of water each from Campo which was about half liter more than we each needed. Temperatures were very mild — low around 27.