Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 6 (5/23) Walking on (or in) the Clouds

Despite the fact that I was only around 4,000 feet, I awoke to a cold sensation. Looking I realized the whole mountain was shrouded in mist... It was too early to worry about it, so I just buried my headin my sleeping bag and got another two hours if shuteye. Up at 6:30, walking by 7:00. In retrospect it was a perfect day to wear my rainpants, but I didn't think of that until I had spent an hour brushing past wet plants and getting my pants soaking wet. I got one awesome video where I came around a turn right as a cloud was about to blow into the mountain, and hopefully it captures the way the seemingly solid cloud blew straight through me and over the hill I was on. I was making fantastic time though, as this section was mostly downhill. In just threw hours I cruised through the 10 miles to Barrel Springs, where I relaxed for a bit in a chair someone had left. This was also a momentous time for me as I had now completed over 100 miles on the trail! This is officially now my longest ever continuous hike, and I still feel pretty great.

On the way, I once again ran into Noah's dad; this time he was day-hiking southbound, and he snapped my photo to email to my family when he gets back. He related the story of one hiker who upon reaching third gate and finding it empty, decided to hike the whole 10 miles to Barrel Springs to fill up on water before sleeping. Apparently he hadn't noticed the shorter route I used to the ranch to get water an easier way... It sounds like Noah is still a say behind me, so we'll see if he catches up at Warner Springs.

Speaking of Warner Springs, that was today's destination. It is a small town with a ranch/resort built around the hot springs there. What a goal for the endof the day! Well, on the way I was treated to quite the interesting landscape. Right after Barrel Springs, you cross a road and within a mile the terrain has transformed into a prairie or grassland with rolling hills. Quite shocking to see the transition. Sadly my phone was dying, so I only have photos on my camera. The PCT meanders its way through this area, and it was really neat to be able to look across this expanse and see a trail marker at the next ridgeline. The native inhabitants were interesting too. I think they were related to prairie dogs, though they looked awfully similar squirrels to me. They would go scampering off as I came near, do it became a game to spot them before they bolted for cover. There were apparently also coyotes out there according to Trish and Chance, but I didn't happen to see those. And if course, the cows. It took quite awhile before I saw my first chow, but I sure knew they were there long before that due to their abundant pies all over the area. Cows are a bit creepy actually, and several other hikers shared this opinion, because as you walk past they will stop and state at you until you are completely out of sight. Its as if me walking through with my backpack was the most awesome thing to happen all day. Well, I guess maybe it was, but nonetheless, creepy.

Out in the middle of this grassland was one landmark I had been greatly liking forward to seeing - Eagle Rock. Its a natural formation that looks just like an eagle with outstretched wings. Once again, phone was dying, so if you want visual proof, I suggest wikipedia. This was really cool to see, but after that I was ready to hit town. I rolled in to Warner around 2:30 (whoo 3mph pace!)

What a place. I got my room then immediately took a bath and a nap. After that was diner with Trish and Chance, and an hour in the hot spring-fed pool. There were a few other new hikers there: Joshua, Rory, and Fool - the first guy I've met with a trail name already. By 10 when the pool closed I was beat so that was all she wrote for the day.

Today's mileage: 18.2
Trip mileage: 109.4

1 comment:

  1. this is all very interesting, congrats on 100 miles! although by now you are probably over 160 miles. You're lucky to see prairie dogs in the wild, those things are always the best part of goin to the zoo. fyi - the bulls have been strugglin against the heat, but they're about to win 3 straight starting tonite. good luck headin up the San Jacinto Mountains and keep those pants dry!