Tuesday, May 1, 2012

1 May - Day 11 - Descent into Warner Spgs

From our campsite above 3rd Gate cache (mile 94) to Warner Spgs "the beach" (109).

Total PCT miles today: 15
Total miles hiked: 18

Heyo, Chris here.

Cowboy camped last night on a high ridgeline - Spring stars setting in the western sky. And woke today under a pristine sunrise just as "Dawn stretched out her fingertips of rose" (to quote Homer's Odyssey). A gentle breeze. Birdsong. A light column of mist funneling up the dry valley below us... Charles whispers "Well that was a night of torture!" - and we all burst out laughing. It's true, none of us slept well what with the winds ripping across the ridge and alien spiney roots clawing at our inflatable NeoAir pads. But so far the masochists in us meet the various "tortures" of the trail with laughter and enjoyment (at least primarily).

Discomfort seems a requirement of the extensive pleasure of the trail.

And the stars were beautiful - but then contradictions and contrasts abound out here. The San Felipe ridge we follow down into Warner Springs today is a perfect example: yesterday and early today we were high on the ridge looking South over the arid, cactus/yucca/agave-filled San Felipe Valley ... but the valley just over the hump is a totally different biome with green rolling hills, wild oats, creeks and old live oak forest and a lake on the western edge.

Both beautiful and idiosyncratic and only divided by a narrow line of rock.

The valley below leading into Warner Spgs was reminiscent of an old world or NZ pasture land. Moo cows mooed, the creek burbled and the lazy shade of the huge ancient live oak trees rustled above us.

Seano, between Eagle Rock and the Moo Cows.

Eagle Rock.

Moo cows.

Charles by the enchanting huge live oaks along the creek heading into Warner Springs.

And we passed the 100 mile mark!

Meanwhile Sean's stomach was disagreeing with our increasingly odious trail food. So Charles and I sped ahead to get lunch and some meds at the temporary hiker haven at the community center in WS. It would seem impossible if you saw all the signs on the trail but I got us temporarily lost on a 1 mile detour toward the old resort which is temporarily closed for renovations (too bad, I'd live to boil my feet).

We finally arrived at the community center in time for burgers and icecream sandwiches - not to mention the hospitality of the two lovely trail angels there.

Here's Charles and Chris chatting with two German thru-hiker artists -- Louise and Christina. We're standing outside the Warner Springs Community Center.

Settled in for a night at "the beach" a dry sandy bank along a creek. And night-night.

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