April 19, 2017
Warner Springs – Mile 124.89 (109.5-124.89)
I slept like a baby last night. It was the first morning on trail that my alarm actually woke me up. Maybe my body is starting to get used to the new routine.
I slept in until 7 again because I new I couldn’t get my external battery out of the resource center until 8. I got all my stuff ready to go, quickly used the WiFi to post yesterday’s blog, and grabbed my battery. I started hiking just after 8:30. Walking out of town in my new shoes felt like heaven.
The first bit of the day was through more grassy fields and forested areas. The trail followed Agua Caliente Creek for a while, twisting around and alongside it. We crossed it 7 or 8 times throughout the morning. I stopped near the last crossing to lay in the shade and eat the pizza I had packed out. It was kind of smushed but soooo good. I grabbed water for the day too. My new full size Sawyer Squeeze is so much better than the mini. It flows much faster and doesn’t leak when I screw it on to my platypus bladders. Yay!
After leaving the creek, the trail began to climb up into the hills. Because of the late start, I was climbing through the heat of the day. With my pack freshly filled with food and water, it was pretty brutal. We climbed up about 2000 feet over the course of the day. At first, there was very little shade, but as the trail wound higher into the hills, shade became more abundant as the vegetation grew thicker and taller. The trail became lined with flowering shrubs in pinks, purples, and whites, with the occasional pine tree. It was gorgeous. I stopped to lie down in the shade for a while, and even read a couple of chapters of a book I recently started on my Kobo app, “The Nightingale”.
As I continued to climb and twist around the hills, the views became more and more beautiful. I barely saw any hikers today. I passed three guys early in the day and leap frogged with Gummies a couple of times, but that was it. After the crowds of hikers at Warner Springs, it felt strange to be alone for so long.
Suddenly, I came around a corner and saw Gummies on the ridge across the way! A human! It was starting to seem like I was the only one out here. Every time I took a break, I expected other hikers to come along, but no one ever did.
I walked around a corner and startled/was startled by what appeared to be a large garter snake lazily sliding across the trail, who quickly slithered off at my approach. Around every corner of the trail is a new mystery. Will there be lush green hills? Red desert? A field of boulders? The landscape changes so quickly out here, it’s incredible how many different things you can see in one day of hiking.
I was aiming for a spot on Halfmile’s app described as “several small campsites among the boulders”, but when I got there, there didn’t seem to be much space at all for camping. Gummies was there too, since he had also been planning to camp there. We looked around a bit, and in the end kept walking up the trail until we found some flat spots about a mile later. We’re both cowboy camping a little ways off trail.
We both thought it was weird that there had been barely any people on trail today, and kept looking back to see if we would see anyone approaching. Finally, we saw two figures coming up trail! It was Adam and Stephanie. They decided to camp with us, and are trying out cowboy camping for the first time. We all sat around camp talking for a while after dinner, which is always fun.
There were some mosquitoes and other bugs buzzing around earlier, but now the sun has set and they seem to be gone. We have an awesome view of the boulder field below from our campsite, and it looked gorgeous as the sun went down. Hopefully there will be some good stars out tonight.