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Miles 15.4 (Hauser Creek) — 28.6 (Kitchen Creek) = 13.2 miles
Rose: swimming in a picturesque pool at the end of the day Bud: cool days Thorn: uncomfortable, nonrestful siesta at Boulder Oak Campground
I woke up at 5 to start the ascent out of Hauser Creek. The climb is often described as terrible. I could see that desciption applying when the sun is on the climb—it’s exposed. Buuttt in the early day, it was fine. The grading was easy, the switchbacks a good length, and the views stunning as the world awakened.
On my climb, I caught up with one other early riser: Angel (real name, no trail name yet). We hiked together for the rest of the morning, chatting about our lives. It made the day go by faster.
We were in Lake Morena by 8, in time for the infamous malt shop to open. We cleaned up at the campground bathrooms and mosied over to eat a cherry chip shake. Admittedly, the shake would have tasted better if I had climbed out of Hauser in the heat of the day.
The next six miles to Boulder Oaks Campground, where we planned to siesta during the heat of the day, were very hot and exposed. My umbrella helped me immensely with the shade.
The scene at Boulder Oaks Campground was a pure trail experience: a dozen dirty hikers lying on the ground, hunched over picnic tables, playing cards, stretching, chatting, attempting to nap, washing socks at the campground spigot. Unfortunately, it was anything but restful as the wind was up and kept whipping our groundsheets around our bodies as we attempted to nap. Since we couldn’t nap, that made us anxious to get back on trail.
My body was feeling a little tired after the early start, so I was thankful that some others only wanted to go the 2.6 miles to the next water source, which was described as “pure paradise” on the Far Out app.
I actually missed the side trail to the campsites and down to the creek. I turned a corner and saw a couple people splashing in the water, backlit by the hot sun. I wanted that water. Thankfully I only needed to backtrack a quarter mile.
The swimming hole was shallow and had a couple water snakes, but it was glorious. It feels good to crawl into your sleeping bag just a little bit cleaner.
The campsites are perched on top of a knoll. A little exposed but a gorgeous view of the sunset. Angel is going to try cowboy camping tonight. I am still too reluctant to do it after the camp host at Boulder Oaks warned us of the coming winds.