Day 3

Cibbets Flat to Laguna Campground (47.5) + 2.2 (off PCT)

17.1 daily miles

I take the road walk again in the morning, canyon light red and pale.  I rejoin the PCT around mile 30, just past Kitchen Creek.  I’m very much alone for the first time on the PCT as I’ve found myself caught between two groups of hikers.  Soon I’m climbing up and get into the pine forest at 6000 ft.  The grade is so easy that it doesn’t really feel like I’m working that hard.

Mt. Laguna is one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” towns, but it seems awfully big to us hikers. Cafe (closed for the night), campground (closed indefinitely), gear store (open and busy), general store (food!), visitor center and lodging/cabins.  People gather on front porches and talk, organize, engage in groupthink, drink beer, smoke cigarettes, laugh, sit quietly.  The general store owner says it’d be a nice town except for all the trash hanging out around the buildings (compliment there…).

I decide to walk out around 4 to make it to Laguna Campground which is about 4-5 miles away.  Walking, humming a tune, peeing on bushes, gazing out into the flat flat desert.  Then there’s the wind, and the sun’s low so every time I look at the bare mountains across that desert expanse they looks different.  The shadows change, and the mountains look to change with them.

Campground’s empty but for a group of 15 tired thru-hikers. A few smoke marijuana and I walk back to be by myself and eat a dinner of mac and cheese, to which I add a few generous slices of edam cheese (aka: real cheese).  At night a racoon comes at my tent and tries to get at my food, but I kick it away.  The animal has torn a small hole in the bottom of my tent, which I mourn, but I fall asleep nonetheless dreaming of a world without racoons.

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