PCT miles 16 to 30.6 – Hauser Creek to Kitchen Creek Road – Total PCT miles 30.6
After an evening sleeping under the stars (aka “cowboy camping” aka sleeping without a tent) and several interruptions from the US border patrol agents driving down the Hauser Creek Road we got started walking at 7:00 am. We knew this was a late start by “desert standards” as we soon felt the first rays of sunshine quickly heat us and our surroundings. Gabriel and I decided that we’d gradually get up earlier and earlier to begin hiking at first light when we could enjoy the cool temps of the early mornings.
A few miles up from Hauser Creek we soon saw the blue oasis of Lake Morena. There we anticipated chocolate milk and ice cream at the convenience store and a dip in the lake. By 10:00 am we were walking up the road to our first town treats!
Alas, our efforts to take a refreshing plunge into the lake didn’t come to fruition. The lake is shallow and didn’t offer the best spot for a swim. We settled for a picnic table in the Lake Morena County Park campground with ample shade, water and time to rest our feet. Likable Dug and Dan soon arrived and we chatted a bit before heading up the trail.
The hiking was warm, though I won’t say it was hot since we have yet to experience the Mojave. Thankfully the next few miles of trail offered shady oaks interspersed with grasses and lupine waving in the refreshing breeze.
We camped along Kitchen Creek about .4 miles away from the trail under a lovely sheltering oak. A chorus of frogs and toads began at 7:00 pm and continued into the evening, a lovely way to fall asleep. I’d like to think that a few of the toads we heard were the endemic and endangered Arroyo toad that live in this part of southern California.