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[pct-l] PCT Section A

PCT Hikers,

I had the opportunity again today to hike the 12.6 miles of the PCT from Lake
Morena to Cibbets Flat. For you thru-hikers, this is the area you might hike
on your second day. 

The weather was beautiful, even if it was a bit windy. The trail was in
pretty good shape and I know there is more trail work planned for later this
year. Watch for hundred's of peonies along the trail; some blooming and
others, ... not yet. You might also see a few Indian Paintbrush and some very
healthy-looking Dudleya (or Chalk Live-forever).

Volunteers have installed new signs leading north from Lake Morena (Thanks,
Pete Fish). Follow the trail guide and you'll make it out onto the trail. Our
only confusion factor was caused by local homeowners who have made paths from
their houses to and across the PCT for lake access. 

The guide says on page 51, column 2, " ... just after passing below the last
house built in an adjacent cul-de-sac to the east, head right, northeast,
uphill through a gated barbed-wire fence."  It's difficult to tell the "last
house" from your vantage point and several private paths through the fence
seemed to fit the description. But... , just keep hiking until you find the
"gated barbed-wire fence" WITH a PCT sign. (The correct PCT turn through the
fence is marked while the private ones are not.)

If you cross Cottonwood Creek on the bridge (as we did) instead of fording
the creek, watch for the old farmer driving an oxidized blue Ford pickup.
Probably, he'll stop and help you get through his wire fence with your pack
(and be sure the gate is shut after you pass). 

Today, I was telling my friends how in 1994 when I hiked this portion of the
PCT, a little old farmer had helped me through the gate and, after directing
me to the trail about 40 yards from the road, watched to be sure I made it
back on the PCT again. When I finished telling them the story, the little old
farmer drove up, right on cue.

Boulder Oaks Campground was almost empty allowing us to enjoy lunch at one of
the large picnic tables as we hiked through. Boulder Oaks Store was OPEN for

Be aware too, that the warning about NOT hiking the PCT alone in this area is
still valid. We saw a group of 8 illegals today lead by two "coyotes" (those
who take the money for leading illegals into the USA) hiking north of
Interstate 8 towards, and then alongside, Kitchen Creek. They were probably
6-to-8 miles north of Lake Morena so the problem is NOT confined to the area
between the Mexican Border at Campo and Lake Morena. 

By the way, when we finished the hike and went back to Lake Morena to recover
the morning's shuttle car, we stopped at Oaks Shore Malt Shop and Grocery for
one of their famous malts. Actually, I had a milkshake, but the others had
malts. When YOU make it to Lake Morena, don't forget to treat yourself to a
malt or milkshake as reward for having completed your first day on the PCT.
Hurry though; the Malt Shop closes about 7:00pm.

Happy Hiking,
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