PCT: Mt. Laguna to Lake Morena


The Pacific Crest Trail (2,650 miles) extends from Mexico to Canada.  Having already completed the John Muir Trail and Wonderland Trail, the Wilderness Innovations Crew decided, on a whim, to attempt the entire length of the PCT in one season.

The Crew

We abandoned the idea approximately 3 minutes after it’s inception.  Jobs, kids, pets, and most importantly our burning hatred for hiking quickly put that notion to rest.

Desert View

Near the start, heading south from Laguna

Instead, Lopez suggested that we string together hundreds, maybe even thousands of mini-hikes over the course of the next 30 years.  Perhaps, between the combined efforts of the whole, we will conquer this beast.  I’m confident that at least one of us will eventually finish the PCT.  We might have to enlist our kids to finish this thing for us, though.


Lopez isn’t known for his excellent planning skills, but after considerable ribbing he took it upon himself to get this one right.  He gathered the permits, bought the parking passes, and kept everyone up to date with detailed emails that contained bulleted lists.  Things went swimmingly at first: we drove to Lake Morena and left Lopez’s Subaru Forester at the trail end, which would be our ticket home.  Then we drove to Cibbets Flat campground and dropped off the tent and camping gear, which would ensure a comfortable night.  Finally, we drove up to Laguna and parked my truck at the trail start.  The plan was to hike 13 miles to the campground, relax overnight, and then hike another 13 miles to Morena, where the Forester would be waiting for us.


Lunch Break under Interstate 8

Unlike The Plan, this Lopesian Plan suffered from one very critical flaw.  Lopez left his keys in my locked truck and didn’t realize it until we were near the end of day one.  That meant an extra ~26 miles of hiking to retrieve them, or we would have to divide up and only some of us would continue on to Morena.  Genius!

Lopez being driven away in an old Vette

Lopez used his infamous charm and convinced the campground host to give him a ride back to my truck.  Unfortunately, the guy was busy making homemade jam, and we had to wait a while.  As anyone who has ever made homemade jam will tell you, it’s impossible to not get drunk while making homemade jam.  The wife was less drunk, however, and she offered to give Lopez a ride in her old sportscar, a red corvette.  We were told that the exchange involved a $20 bill for gas, but I think everyone knows what really happened.

Horned Lizard

Spring bloom

If this trip was any indication of the fun that we can expect on the rest of the PCT, I am excited!  Actually, the weather was really nice and it wasn’t too hot, the wildflowers were blooming, and the trail was more interesting than I expected.  Since we were hiking north to south, we passed a bunch of other hikers who appeared to be starting their own very long journey.  We also encountered a swarm of angry bees, which is always fun.

The PCT southern section





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