Got up at 6:00am and packed up. The night before we had used up all our water, so we had made the plan to get on the trail right away, hike to the next water source (less than a mile), and stop for breakfast there. All was going to plan, we snuck out undetected amongst ourselves fellow tenters and were hiking by 6:25am, but at the stream where we’d hoped to stop was a sleeping tenter right next to the trail. Onward we went and in record setting pace made it down the 4 miles to Hauser Creek. This section was all downhill, a loss of 1,000 feet elevation. We saw the last of a lovely sunrise and what we believed to be the feet of an burried stone giant…At Hauser Creek, we filtered some water and boiled some up for oatmeal and coffee. My deluxe homemade oatmeal had strawberry’s. Dave H opted for the blueberry variety. We had a nice rest here knowing that the next stretch was to go back up the 1000 feet or so out of the “canyon.” We had a debate about what defines a canyon vs. a valley that was never settled.Slowly, and with many breaks, we trudged up and away from the creek. I’ve learned a tendency of us PCT hikers, which is to continually think about the next goal to reach. At the beginning it was mile 1, then Hauser Creek…next up was the campground at Lake Morena, mile 20. Team Hoekwater was on a role, both of us feeling quite better than on day 1. After one particular bend in the trail, we got a great view of the lake…Down the trail we went, continuing towards the edge of the lake. Before we got there, however, the creature we Stephens fear above all others suddenly appeared smack dab in the middle of the trail…a snake! This was actually the third snake we’d seen, but this one was a rattlesnake (later identified as a Western Diamondback). Dave H was leading and didn’t notice it until about 6 feet away. He stopped in his tracks, yelled “Snake” and I retreated quite quickly indeed. For having claimed to be afraid of snakes his whole life my father was not appearing to be at this moment. Ok, he was just a little guy, maybe 1.5 feet long, but he wanted to walk right past. I told him that was not happening for me and that all the stuff I read was to stay far, far away and wait for the thing to go away, maybe throw some rocks at him. So that’s what we did and he did move eventually. Even so, I ran past that spot faster than Usain Bolt…After that ordeal, we made it to the campground at 1:00pm. We appreciated the access to a restroom with toilets and running water, and found a nice shaded spot to have lunch. Actually, the campground has a designated spot for PCT hikers to set up, so that’s where we had our lunch. For these first couple days, all lunches were tortillas with pb and jelly/honey or with tuna “salad,” and a soup that the master chef concocted.While finishing up lunch, we realized we had major honey explosion in the food bag from it being squished. While Dave H went to clean it out at the bathroom, I filtered some more water. Soon, some other hikers joined us, including Aspen the dog, who I’m a big fan of…All the folks who ended up making it to the campground while we were there planned to stay the night. We were tempted to stay and enjoy the company, but felt we wanted to get some more miles in since it was still a bit early. So onward we went. We made it another 3 miles, making it our personal best, 11.9 miles. Since the one tent site near us on my app was taken, we ended up searching a bit to find a spot. We found a nice flat area that was somewhat off the trail and hidden from the wind. Since we’d done a late lunch, neither of us was hungry, so we set up our tents and just rested for a bit. I also tended to a rip in my shirt, that I first noticed when at Scout and Frodo’s before the hiking even began! I’m not a master sewer, but was given a lesson and I’m pretty sure it’ll now make it all the way to Canada!Eventually, we made our dinner, which was another great homemade rehydrated meal (scalloped potatoes, ham, and mushrooms). Didn’t dissapoint. Pudding was had of course too, which I feel will be a fav of mine going forward.
We’d been keeping our eyes on the sunset, and managed to get a nice photo, but soon after the temp. began dropping, the wind picked up, and the clouds began rolling in. It looked a lot like rain, so we quickly attached our rain flys to the tents and packed everything up and placed underneath.It didn’t end up raining, but we were in the tents around 7:30pm. Both did some writing, and I still had energy enough to some reading of my ebook.