We aren’t the last to leave camp this morning. Unusual for us. We leave behind the pines and walk through the chaparral. The Anza Borrega desert spreads out below us to the east.
We reach a trail marker announcing we’ve hiked 50 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. We celebrate by making our own shade under umbrellas and drinking water. Who’s laughing now at the umbrella-bearers? We have shade in the desert.
Late in the day, we watch as clouds from the west spill over the ridge. Soon we are walking in the clouds. Cold, wet, and windy.
At Sunrise Trailhead, we use the water tank as a windbreak, set up our tent behind it, then pile in. Natalie reaches out the tent vestibule to heat water for dinner.
Walk, eat, and sleep. Life of a hiker.