Date: Monday, 01 May 2017
Start: Campsite on ridge at Mile 94.4
Finish: Campsite beside Agua Caliente Creek at Mile 115
Daily Miles: 20.6 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 115.0
Weather: Very warm and sunny
Accommodation: Tent beside clear sandy-bottom stream.
Lunch: Four cans of Coke, two ice-creams, and two small bags of chips
Dinner: Rehydrated beef stroganoff and noodles
Aches: None really. Generally tired.
Highlight: The oasis-like (or, perhaps, refugee camp-like) Warner Springs Community Centre, which I reached in the early afternoon after a long nine-mile slog across mainly open grassland under a blazing sun. The local Indian community has embraced PCT hikers and provide a camping area, showers and toilets, a common room, small store and shelters from the sun. When I arrived, I was dreaming of a cold Coke and had several. There were grubby and tired hikers everywhere making use of the facilities which were supervised by a couple of friendly elderly women. I would guess about 50 hikers were present at the time I was there. Most arriving were planning to stay the night, but I was determined to keep going. In truth, the idea of camping with such a big crowd was less enticing than finding a quiet spot along the trail. I relaxed out of the sun for a couple of hours, indulged myself, and recharged my tablet before leaving around 3pm.
Lowlight: Too many mosquitoes as the sun set in my idyllic camping site ( and I also lost my headphones from a velcroed pocket sometime during the morning).
Pictures: Click here
Map: Click here for Google Map
The wind came up soon after I went to bed and the night was again marred by a seriously flapping tent, though not as bad as a few nights ago. I woke at 5:45am and was on the trail an hour later with the goal of hiking non-stop to Barrel Spring, the first water since the cache of yesterday. As usual, the early morning hiking was very pleasant, though the sun already had a bite, promising a hot day.
I made good time on the winding mountain trail, reaching the spring around 9am when only a couple of hikers were there, but by the time I had eaten my muesli and replenished my water there were a dozen or more. It’s like a moving caravan, and I see many of the same faces. The next section turned out to be particularly hot. I was hoping to make good time to Warner Springs, but soon was plodding across mostly open undulating grassland, under a relentless sun. I kept reminding myself that the scenery remained excellent (cowboy country), and that I would soon have a cold drink. A highlight was passing Eagle Rock, a well-known group of rocks that realy does look like an eagle. A quick photo and I moved on. A couple of grils were sheltering in the only shade. The last part followed a lovely shaded stream into Warner Springs, but my mind was on my cold drink.
Warner Springs delivered, and I spent a pleasant few hours there as the caravan, and more, arrived. It reinforced my decision to hike another 5.5 miles to where there proved to be a lovely campsite in a canyon. When I arrived, I had the place to myself, but there are now about another eight hikers camped in the same area. I have to say, throughout the trip so far, my fellow hikers have always been very considerate, minimising noise once the sun sets and packing up quietly in the mornings. I passed the 100 Mile mark today, and also had my first 20 mile day.