I hardly got any sleep last night, mostly cause of excitement and nervousness. Jaime, Justin (Megameal) and I got up and left camp around 6:30am. The first 8 miles was amazing and pretty chill. Then we started ascending into mount laguna and my pace slowed slowly throughout the day. We had already decided we wanted to hike 18 miles and sleep just outside of Mt. Laguna so we could do a super short morning hike into town, eat breakfast at the cafe, hit the outfitter for a gear shakedown, and keep going about halfway to the next town, Julian. Climbing through these mountains is spectacular. Simply beautiful views. The trail runs along the side of a mountain and was treacherous and loaded with rattle snakes. Some of these sections are so thin that you can't see anything on either side of you...just super thick brush. So I was waiting for another snake to jump out at me, but I never got the privilege.
After the 8th mile I started getting intense shooting pain on the side of my left knee. Operating on pure determination, I kept pushing on while telling myself "walk it off and your body will toughen up." Man I was wrong. My knee started grinding and I had to really use my poles to keep my weight off the left side... plus I had to carry about 3L of water. After 10 hours of hiking we pulled into a spot by the river. I was in serious pain. It's hard to move around and do simple things. I knew I was in deep shit. Another hiker told me to take a day off in Mt. Laguna or else I would ruined my thru hike dreams of reaching Canada. The dilemma is, I really liked my new buddies and didn't want to lose them. But I decided I'm going to stay in town tomorrow and try to rest my knee, get a brace, and a hot shower.
My gear is starting to get filthy and smelly already too. In a weird way it's a visual reminder that I'm doing something difficult, so my gear should look like shit, right?
All three of us cowboy camped (first time for me). A German dude and a woman from the Czech Republic also stayed with us. Made dinner, jumped in my bag, and watched the stars. I passed out in 10 minutes and slept for 12 hours. I got up in the middle of the night to pee and my knee didn't hurt! Maybe that's all I needed was a little rest. We'll see in the morning. It's a 4.5 mile hike into town.