28 June 2022
Big Laguna Loop
(12 miles, +1,300/-1,300 feet).
My buddy Double Down has a friend in town from Iceland, and we thought it would be fun to show him some of the San Diego scenery up in the mountains. A classic hike in the Laguna Mountains is the Big Laguna Loop, which starts and ends on the PCT, but also winds through pine forests and around big grassy meadows at the top of the range. Perfect!
It was going to be hot today, so we left before dawn to beat the heat.
Double down’s friend studies ants, and he spent the day collecting some for research. I picked his brain all day and I feel like I learned a lot, but my favorite moment came when he showed me a hole in the ground I would have completely missed.
As it turns out, this is a trap set by a creature called an antlion. The walls of the hole are exactly steep enough that when ants blunder into the hole they can’t get out. At the bottom, the ant lion lies in wait for its next meal! Double down’s friend took one of the ants he collected and demonstrated.
After that, Double Down and I gave his friend a trail name: AntyM! In addition to it being about ants, he also has an M in his real name and we loved giving him a reference to the oh-so-American Wizard of Oz that he could take back with him to Iceland.
AntyM especially liked Big Laguna, where ants were feeding along the shore, and we saw several garter snakes
We hiked very fast, covering about 10 miles in three hours! Soon we were back at Storm Canyon and then back to the car, just when the heat was really starting to settle in.