12-13 August 2021
Sunrise Trailhead to PCT mile 55.9 and back
(8 miles, +900/-900 feet).
I am still nursing a tendonitis injury so I have not done any hiking lately. But I am itching to get back out there, so I suggested to Half Cookie that she and I do a very short trip to camp out and watch the Perseids meteor shower.
It’s still hot in SoCal, so we had to go somewhere at elevation. I found a PCT campsite at about 5000 feet in Anza Borrego that was just outside the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, and it was only about a 4 mile level-ish hike from the Sunrise Trailhead.
Uncharacteristic for Half Cookie and me, we started our hike late afternoon, timing it so we could arrive in camp, set up, and have a leisurely dinner.
I was surprised to find so many flowers. Usually it is dead up here this time of year, and it has been so dry, but apparently the monsoon cycle has occasionally been giving the mountains some badly needed rainfall.
For our star-watching cowboy camp set-up I experimented with polycro. It’s an ultralight window covering material that people sometimes use as extra protection under their sleeping pads. It wasn’t expensive, just $8, and it did seem quite strong, but the fabric did puncture in a couple of places, and once a puncture starts it rips easily. Even though it only weighed less than 2 ounces, I don’t think I would use this again. I would probably just lay on top of the tent until we decided to go to sleep.
This was a good time and place for the Perseid meteor shower. A crescent moon set a couple of hours after sundown, so we had the whole sky free from both moonlight and city lights. However, it was quite humid. We were directly under the flight path for one of the airports here and as planes turned their landing lights on, they created long cones of hazy light that extended for up to a quarter of the sky. Very cool looking (I’ve never seen anything like it before!) but it didn’t bode well for visibility.
However, it was fine. Half cookie saw a couple of nice meteors before drifting to sleep and I saw about a dozen before my eyelids were drooping, too, and I rousted her to the tent.
I slept well last night and we both awoke this morning before sunrise. I made oatmeal and tea before packing up and heading back to the Sunrise trailhead.
Back at the trailhead, we crossed the road to go look at a water source that I skipped when I was hiking the PCT. It was apparently dry back in April, but it was full of water now, and also full of bugs!
I’m so happy to backpack again, but I can tell from how my foot is feeling that it will be at least a few more weeks before I am ready to do anything more strenuous….