Got up this morning and felt awesome and refreshed. I was in a rush to get out of my wet sleeping bag (from all the dew) to see if my knee was back to normal. It felt stiff but not nearly as torn up as yesterday when I hiked into camp. Mega meal and Jaime were already up and almost packed. I told them to press on and I would meet them at the cafe in Mt. Laguna. I had some hot chocolate, packed up my gear and slowly set off. The first 1/4 mile I felt fine. Then, bam, pain was back full force. The short hike to town was all uphill and I was gonna cover 1200 vertical feet. I realize that when I stop to take breaks and then start again, that's when it hurts the most. So I stopped taking breaks and just pushed through. Since it's so early, the sun is just rising over the crest and exposed endless views of the rolling mountains I hike up and through the day before. It's gratifying seeing what you walked through.
I got into town and went to the cafe. I met Megameal and Jaime. We had quiche and coffee and then headed over to the hiker outfitter. When I got to the outfitter, one seasoned thru hiker named Richard "Hot Legs" offered to do a gear shakedown to help me reduce weight. This dude was incredibly helpful. He forced me to ditch about 1.5lbs of gear and mail it home. Also, the hiker boxes here are loaded with crap other hikers left behind. When I was fishing through it I saw that somebody left a book called "How to be a straight-A student in 4 weeks"..lol. Guess they didn't need the book anymore.
He then got me set up on a knee brace and reminded me to not push my body and always listen to it. There are so many hikers here. This whole town's economy is build around PCT hikers. Everyone is super friendly. I haven't felt lonely at all. And I got some cell service so I was able to check messages and got so much love from friends and family at home. A good morale boost.
I walked over to the lodge and booked a room for the night, mailed my extra gear home and chilled on the porch of the post office for a few hours resting my knee. "Strange" hung out with me on the porch.