The Trail Delivers
So, when we said we had wanted to get an early start, 3am was NOT what we had had in mind! Minutes after 3am we woke to half of our tent collapsing due to the constant hurricane-strength winds- apparently our tent-site was not as ideal as we had thought, and our tent was not as indestructible as we had hoped. Matt threw on his shoes & headlamp to fix the tent only to find that a piece was beginning to rip from being pulled by the wind. He jumped back into the tent and announced, “we gotta get outta here!” Matt and I have NEVER packed so quickly. By 3:38 we were packed and hiking.
It was cold with constant blasts of wind. My fingers quickly grew numb and non-functional and I wished I had my hat on, but without thinking I had packed my gloves and hat in my pack, and unpacking at this point would result in a yard sale across Southern California.
Around 5 am we reached mile 91, where we found the most amazing water cache ever: gallons upon gallons of water! We topped off our bottles so we were carrying 11 L between the two of us. We were too cold and tired to donate at the cache, so we both donated via venmo later that night.
We had each individually thought about setting up the tent and getting a few hours of sleep there, but we both agreed we had better hike on.
I was excited for the sun to rise, expecting it to bring a blanket of warmth, but instead the sun, just as it rose, started to hide behind clouds. What an evil joke! More wind and frigid air accompanied us throughout the early morning, making for a not so happy and very uncomfortable, shivering Ali. We saw we were approaching a “small cave” in 1 mile and I took off, hoping to find some respite from the wind. At mile 96.1 we found the cave, where we were in fact able to escape most of the wind. We decided to eat breakfast here and properly pack our tent after completing 8 miles before 8am!!
At this point Matthew noted that if we banged out another 13 miles we could make it to Warner Springs for the night- think: food, cold beverages, FLUSH toilets- I was sold!!
The day warmed up as we walked on, allowing my fingers to thaw, and just before 0945 we reached mile 100!!
(Apparently selfies = mirror images!)Shortly after the 100 mile mark we stopped for a break and to apply sunscreen. There we met Charise and Tim, a married couple from Wisconsin, and Isaiah, a young dude from Orlando . We talked about the rumors of food and foot baths waiting for us in Warner Springs, which sealed the deal for Matthew and I trucking through. Charise mentioned how she was craving hot dogs, so I told her I’d put some good vibes out to the universe for hot dogs in her near future. We also wondered if it being Easter would limit the services available when we arrived in Warner Springs- then we joked maybe we would come across some peeps and jelly beans…
While the others left, Matthew and I took another few minutes to check on our feet, change socks, and gather up our stuff. We said a quick hello to Jeremy and Yaara as they hiked past.
At mile 101 we came to Barrel Springs and found an amazing site: Easter Trail Magic!!!!! HOT DOGS, sausage, bacon, chips, pretzels, candy, beer, carrots, fruit, and a huge box of condiments! AND!! The Easter Bunny hid easter eggs around the area, full of JELLY BEANS!! It is said that the trail delivers, and for sure it did today!It was amazing. Trail angels Elizabeth and Robert are hikers/campers from Cardiff by the Sea and camped out at Barrel Springs with their daughter for the weekend to provide trail magic ALL weekend! They were awesome- and we enjoyed about an hour sitting with them and our new hiking friends.
(I didn’t mean to eat out of a bag that so many dirty hands have dug into ..but I did eat some preztels. Praying I don’t get sick!)
The last three miles were nearly unbearable. I was tired, my back started hurting, there were little hills that felt like mountains- I was DONE! At least it was beautiful!
After a slow trek we finally reached Warner Springs at 1537- exactly 12 hours, nearly to the minute, that we started to hike that day.
Warner Springs has a community center run by volunteers that supplies charging stations, showers, bathrooms, rides to the post office(an otherwise 2 mile round-trip walk) and a campground all for free, with a resupply shop, foot baths, laundry, and ice cream/cold drinks all for minimal fees. They do suggest donations, and we were so grateful for all they supplied, we were happy to donate!
Also on site is Two Foot Adventures, a gear store in an air stream that was stocked with shoes, backpacks, tents, cooking supplies- you name it, they had it! Matthew ended up purchasing a new pair of shoes which will hopefully provide more support and help with his ankle pains.
I will probably buy a knee brace- my tape was doing great until I somehow developed a blister under the tape, which I noticed a few days ago. But today I was convinced it turned to cellulitis when I saw a ring of red around the blister (and, you know, next is osteomyelitis or septic joint…I fell down a rabbit hole of thru-hike-ending diagnoses!) I quickly washed with soap and water and slapped on a bandaid- which also irritated my skin. Apparently me + heat + sweat + dirt + adhesive tape isn’t the best mix… but it looks a lot better now!! Anyways, I think a knee brace might help…
We were so excited to find Flower, Ellie, and Caleb at Warner Springs, along with all of our new friends from the past two days… but not too excited to stay awake and socialize. Flower, Ellie, and Caleb walked 2 miles round trip for dinner, but we opted out. No more walking for the day! We set up camp and relaxed for a bit while others did a community yoga class outside our tent, then we ate dinner and passed out. First good nights sleep in a LONG time
Happiness is: meeting Elizabeth & Robert, who selflessly provided the most amazing trail magic spread ever! Thank you!
More pics from today:
Matt reminded me of a Swiss mountain yodeler