Day 2, February 28, 2022 – Water on the PCT, Cruelty and KindnessI awoke to too much daylight.  By the time I dressed, brushed my teeth and packed up all my gear, it was nearly 7 before I was on the trail.  I’ve missed the best part of the day, so tomorrow I will set an alarm.  At some point I stopped to eat one of the boiled eggs and the apple.  I stopped periodically, for water or rest and all was well.  Vegetation and scenery are about the same.  Both days I saw tiny patches of snow, the size of your hand, with large wet areas showing where the melted snow was nourishing tiny new grasses and all the plants.  A newcomer to the scene were many freshly sprouted wild peonies.  One even had an open bloom.  I am sure they will be glorious in another week or so.

Walking above a deep canyon…what are those red things down there?  Turns out they were airplane warning balls on high voltage lines.  The trail breaks out onto a wide road, with a device for calling for help, something connected to the high voltage lines.  The trail eventually goes below those lines.  A big road straight, or down, but no PCT marker.  Coin flip says straight, which turns out to be correct.  Connecting with the “historic” PCT, there is an old wooden sign, declaring “Lake Moreno 5 miles”.  My ass!  It was a cruel deception from when the old trail came to the bottom of this ravine and then followed Hauser creek to the lake, but of course, I don’t know this yet.  The creek was dry, though there were tall trees and nice places to camp.  Then, the “new” PCT starts up a steep, exposed, rocky trail and for the first time I was struggling.  Still, I am telling myself, no water, but should only be about 3 miles now to the lake.  I pass a pile of brand-new gear, I did not rummage through, but could see water bags, clothes.  I called a few times to see if someone was nearby, needing help, but no answer.  Another dry creek, but this time, an amazing surprise.  Trail Angels have left 8-gallon jugs of fresh water.  We are pretty far out, so I think they were brought in on horseback.  They’ve written sweet words of encouragement all over the jugs.  I drink and top off one bottle, very grateful for this act of kindness.  Mileage wise, thinking I am close to the lake, I turn a corner and see it.  But that lake is easily still 5 miles away.  Thank you “new” trail funny people.  I eventually reach the Lake Moreno regional park, though the lake itself is very low and too far to bother with, the park was pretty and nearly empty.  It was around 3:00 pm.  It just seemed too early to camp, but I filled my water and used the restroom, before heading on.  The nights are long and boring, so I want to maximize those daylight hours and see things.  A day-hiker from the other direction asked me if I was traveling with someone.  He had just seen “another lady” about a ¼ mile ahead of me and thought we must be together.  I never did see her, but perhaps she was the one who left all the gear on the trail.  He told me she was planning to camp about a half mile up.  When I said I wanted to go further, he said I might make it to the bridge.  Indeed, I did.  But the bridge was a freeway overpass, so I elected to camp on the trail again, just above.  I did not see the attraction of walking all this way to sleep under a freeway.  I also thought there may be a homeless encampment.  So, I set up in the middle of the trail again.  Now there are many places to the sides of the trails more suitable for camping, I just never happened to see them near the time I wanted to camp, sunset.  Dehydrated Teriyaki chicken and rice, better, but still I decided to just eat Top Ramen the rest of the way.  I recently read A Walk in the Woods, where these two guys eat nothing but noodles on the Appellation Trail.  They did not die, so pretty sure I wouldn’t either.  As I sat on my rock eating dinner, I spied an extremely fat tick, just outside my open tent flap, squish.  Reached about the 24th mile.  This time I set the alarm.