Posts Tagged ‘thru-hiker’

Warner Springs Resort had closed down completely leaving only the Post Office open, but the town pulled together and provided a wonderful store-at-cost in the community center, making it a fundraiser for the local school system as well as offering cheap meals, camping space, and music.  The music was three old dudes, two on guitar and a sax player who somehow managed to smoke a cigarette and play at the same time, between puffs holding it in his fingers hitting the right buttons.  The showers were too steep for me though, I’m not going to pay $10 for a shower.  I washed my socks in a sink though, that’s good enough for now.

Random girl helping out: “It smells like a bunch of hobos in here”

Hiker whispers to another hiker: “yeah that roaming herd of smelly hobos!”

The other hiker: “They just keep coming out of the bushes!”

Main problem though: no booze and it’s Cinco de Mayo.  We got a few tall boys from other hikers hitching over, but that was it.  Inspector Gadget claimed to need a ride for cigarettes (practically the only thing they didn’t sell) and got us some more beer and a small bottle of whiskey.

We left at 6:45 p.m. after dinner (which I dug through the hiker box for) and began drinking as soon as we were back on the trail.  Take one and pass-it-down-the-line style.  We lost Joe and Peter to a room in Julian but we picked up Shags and Scallywag.  Since Scallywag didn’t partake in our fun, he became the designated hiker.

On the way out of town, we walked through a horse pasture and then near a high ropes course which we managed to sling Ari up into as he sketchily hopped around up there.  He made it down ok and we continued on, watching the moon rise several times as we ducked in, out, and around small hills.  Each time we oo’ed and aw’ed and drank another beer.

By the time we got to the creek five miles in, we were doing well and even better when we found the campfire of two Canadians, a Belgian guy named Waffles, and a guy from North Dakota along with a few other randoms.  We made ourselves a little Cinco de Mayo party there.

In the morning, many weren’t doing too great, but we all eventually got moving.  The trail twisted over and over the creek many more times than the map showed and through some chilly areas until it began to climb and climb and climb.  I took my usual 7:30ish break to take off the wind jacket and to put on sun screen.  Luckily, I was not too hung over, guzzled water and kept pressing on for a nice 12 miles before lunch at trail angel Mike’s house, where one of the main water sources was a large tank.

On the way there I leap frogged Gypsy (an older Australian woman) and Hamburger (an older German guy) a few times and passed Neon and On-the-go. The sun blazed and all I could think about was getting to Mike’s for water and shade.  Right before the junction, I ran into a two foot long snake sunning itself across the trail – not a rattler, but looked similar without the rattle.  At the junction, on the back of the sign post someone wrote “Mike’s, shade, water, awesome.”

About a quarter-mile off the trail, I walked over to the water tank with Gypsy and Hamburger to read, “Free food and beer for PCT Thru-Hikers, come down if you dare to awesomeness.”  It was meant for the Cinco de Mayo party the night before, but we explored and there were plenty of leftovers.  Two vegans were even visiting and gave me a veggie burger!

Eventually, everyone came rolling through, got food, relaxed etc. Until we felt rain drops as we started to leave. Rain? In the desert? Really?  It wasn’t looking too terrible from the side of the ridge we were on but Hop-a-long and I reminisced about ridges and Colorado thunderstorms.  Our logic here was that we could scurry over the ridge and head down the other side before it got bad, plus the trail did not run on top of the ridge as the Colorado Trail did all the time, it just contoured it, went through a saddle, then contoured down the other side.

That we did.  We picked up the pace and made it through fine to a deathly stillness on the other side of the ridge, where we put on a layer, only to get rained on, then hailed on.  Magically, after a bit, it all cleared up just dandy.  We meant to get 25 miles in, but at 21 we were pooped and camped with High Life who had not been hung over and hike 27 from Warner Springs.

The morning was slow, but the sunrise was pleasant.  We found water at Nance Canyon and in the cache right after that.  I cooked there since I could grab water.

The next 9 miles were rough.  The sun came out blazing and it became ridiculous.   At one point I began hallucinating snakes that were really just tree branches on the ground, until a two foot rattler that laid directly across the trail answered me and made me jump around it.  I managed to dig my phone out for a picture while it began to slither into the bushes and coil. Aat that point, I decided it was time to go.


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