Douglas has really missed
YMCA Y Guides. Or rather, he has really missed the camping we
used to do with Y Guides. So do I. And
I really really enjoyed
backpacking last September in the Sierras.
So sometime in early
spring, I approached Chuck Fabijanic, the
organizer of last year's Badwater to Whitney Bike n Hike, about doing a
"first backpack" with our 4th graders, Doug and PJ. He
enthusiastically agreed, and we set about making a plan.
The Laguna Mountains are
just east of the Cuyamaca Mountains. Far enough east, in fact, to have
been untouched by
the October 2003 wildfires that ravaged so much of Cuyamaca State
Park. When Chuck and I went looking for hikes in San Diego
County long enough to be backpacks, untouched by the fires but not in
the desert, it was the Pacific Crest Trail (or PCT) through the
Cleveland National Forest and the Laguna Mountains that came up.
Taking the PCT north to
south is like driving Route 66 west to east: it's almost a crime
against nature. People hike from Mexico to Canada. The
trail starts in San Diego County, not ends. Eventually, however,
Chuck convinced me that losing 2800 ft instead of gaining it would make
for a more enjoyable experience for the boys. That, and it would
be more fun meeting PCT hikers heading to Canada face to face than have
them blow by you from behind.
So the route was decided
upon, and the weekend at the end of the boys' spring break was chosen
as the date. The plan was two drivers and two cars, and to hike
point to point with a car left at either end. We had some vague
idea about water and campsites along the route. I went to the
(remarkably close) forest service office to buy maps, Adventure Passes,
and file a route plan. And the local economy received a boost
when the two fathers outfitted they boys with packs and gear.