Last night I slept by a water cache spot on the Pacific Crest Trail. The area is totally barren and the current temperatures are easily above 100 degrees. Trail Angels supply the area with plastic gallon containers of drinking water. I easily saw how one could go from a fit hiker to a casualty, heat stroke victim or worse.
Today, my hiking day ended 14 miles after I started on account of the hills and the heat. I am now at a very suitable camping spot. Two other thru hikers thought the same. Both already acquired their trail names of “The Brit” and “Squirrel.” We spoke very little on account of high wind-gusts all around us. We each settled into our very expensive ultralight tents for the evening. Overnight the temperature progressively got colder, I felt it in my ultralight two season sleeping bag; the wind gusts must’ve blown in the high forties with some pelting rain.
The next morning when I awoke the Brit was already gone; I packed up and left the Squirrel sleeping.
On the 19 mile hike over to reach Warner Springs I enjoyed my own company; except briefly two women hiking southbound. They each tell me that last year they missed hiking this section of the trail. One asked me if I saw a thermarest mattress lying on the trail and I replied, YES. One of the women replied that the Brit dropped it earlier.
Now how does anyone drop their thermarest unintentionally I thought? I saw it lying on the trail but, only two thoughts occurred in my hiking mind; one is the hiker is now taking a dump near the trail and is marking the trail for their friend not yet caught up. They dropped it; and who am I to decipher if they are northbound or southbound. Besides I had plenty of weight on my back now not necessarily needing or wanting to add more.
I was already looking forward to reaching Warner Springs and immediately jump in their hot springs pool. My trail now led me mostly in a downhill direction. It was a very picturesque walking day after last night’s windstorm. Lots of black and white California cows all around and the infamous Eagle Rock. Yes, that rock does look like an eagle! Eagle Rock is a conspicuous granite formation located along the Pacific Crest Trail just south of Warner Springs as it travels through cool oak woodlands and a bubbling stream.
I held my Garmin gps in my hand and calculated within the minute the time it would take me to arrive at a nearby Golf course for a delicious BLT sandwich and anything with ice in it. On the trail I seemed to have developed a taste for Coca Cola.
My resupply box of food for another week of hiking on the PCT would also be waiting for me at Warner Springs.
At the hot springs pool I met more thru hikers, a brother and sister hiking team; two girls from Sweden that answer by trail names of name of Swisters. If it wasn’t for the Brit I would likely be the oldest hiker here today. The Brit from England is 63 years old and I am 55.
We both got a kick out of being called Sirs by the younger hiker crowd. All is well in Warner Springs tonight; Idyllwild tomorrow.
PS: Thank you Grumpy whomever you are – (Trail Angel) for managing the water spot at the PCT and 79 road junction)
Love of my life is making music with my friends and I can’t wait to get on the road again…….
See you on the trail!