Day 2: Mile 11.4 stealth site to Lake Morena

Our second day on the Pacific Crest Trail. Desert flowers, a broken camera, and a dry Lake Morena.


 

Start point: Mile 11.4 stealth site
End point: Lake Morena County Park
Distance hiked: 9mi

We woke up at roughly 6:30am. Many hikers passed us between then and the time we left; we took our normal slow time getting out of camp in the morning. We weren’t walking unil 8:30am, and by then at least three more groups had passed. It’s not a race, and we both realize that. But the late start does lead to hotter hiking. The hottest time of day is noon to 2pm.

We hiked down into the valley between our site and the mountain we’d had a view of. The area is known as “Hauser Creek.” It’s very pretty, but abnornally dry this year to to the drought.

We hiked up the other side of the valley on some well-thought switchbacks. Our only conplaint was the very high exposure levels, but that’s to be expected. There is literally no shade on the way up, except in a cave:

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We captured lots more great flora pictures on the way up. The desert is alive and infinitely colorful.

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A tall desert plant along the Pacific Crest Trail with a mountain as backdrop

A rocky field of cacti seen during our second day on the Pacific Crest Trail

Purple desert flowers and thick blades of grass along the Pacific Crest Trail

We hiked along a ridge for a few miles, great vistas in every direction, until Lake Morena County Park came into view. The lake is abnormally dry this year, again due to California’s drought. Visually, the lake looks about 10% full: an entire half of the lakebed is exposed, and the non-exposed lakebed is visible through only a few feet of water.

Half of Lake Morena in San Diego County is dry due to the draught. As seen from the Pacific Crest Trail.

Dry Lake Morena

Nearly dry Lake Morena. What little water exists is shallow. As seen from the Pacific Crest Trail.

Once descending into the county park, we walked 4/10 of a mile to Oak Shores grocery and deli. This was our first hiker-hunger eating session. We each plowed through a cheeseburger, Rick’s a double, a bag of chips, a 2 liter of orange soda, and a few coffees.

Oak Shores grocery and deli, a hiker-friendly store with hamburgers and ice cream.

Oak Shores grocery and deli, a hiker-friendly store with hamburgers and ice cream.

 

After lunch we walked back to the county park to shower, let the hottest part of the day pass, and type up this blog post. Most of the couples we saw the day prior are here with us.

We rinsed our clothes in the Lake Morena showers and are thus walking around like sopping fools.

Lake Morena shower building

Lake Morena shower building

Lake Morena campground.

Lake Morena Campground

We had some trouble with our camera, our AW120 from last year’s Appalachian Trail trip. We stopped at Lake Morena for the day to fix it.

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