We wanted to hike 21.5 miles to Mount Laguna. Instead we nearly died. This desert is no joke.
Story time. Since this is a desert, getting water is sometimes an issue. Therefore the PCT uses a Google sheet to keep an up to date report on where reliable water sources are. My hiking companion had a printed version. Very thoughtful.
Alas the report got misread. At mile 32.6 there was no water to be found near the trail. There was some at a camping ground quite some miles off trail. Too many miles. And we were almost out. We desperately needed water though soon in this scorching desert heat. Hike back 2.7 miles downhill to the previous source or hike on 4.1 miles uphill. There was no cell signal to call an Uber either to take us to the camping ground as there was a dirt road nearby. Both being scientists we made the rational decision to backtrack 2.7 miles. The fun we had! When your pee turns bright, almost fluorescent yellow, you know you need a drink soon.
Long story short, we made it back and lived happily ever after. I'm ok mom!
Later we were told the camping ground was actually only .8 miles off trail instead of the 8 to 10 miles we thought. Yep. Misread the report twice. What an adventure we had. From now on I check the water report for each bigger stretch and write down all reliable sources in my little notebook.
Because of this little side trip I had no intention anymore to make it to Mount Laguna that day. Instead I camped at mile 37 with the intention of getting a good long sleep and hiking into Laguna by the time the tavern opens to get some good breakfast.