Barrel Springs(101.1) to Stealth Site(119.6) 18.5 Miles
My new routine seems to be breaking the day into two halves. The first part of the day is always enjoyable, while the second half is mostly trudging along the trail with my head down.
I enjoyed cowboy camping last night, even though it was cloudy and I couldn't see the stars. Cowboy camping made it a breeze to pack up in the morning. I was on the trail at 5:55 am. I had a pleasant hike through a wide open meadow. It was very foggy, which was peaceful to walk through.
The goal of the morning was to make it into Warner Springs to resupply and then get back out onto the trail, but first I took a detour to see Eagle Rock. It is one of the classic PCT photo opportunities. It is a jumble of boulders that looks like an eagle.
I spent almost an hour talking with Hard Time and then 6 Paws. I've been bouncing back and forth with 6 Paws since day one. He is a retired Navy guy who is hiking barefoot with his dog. I met Hard Time last night. He is from LA and hiked the Contiental Divide Trail last year.
I made it into Warner Springs around 9:30. There is an awesome resource center there that caters to pct hikers. You can camp on their property, resupply, do old fashioned laundry(a bucket and soap) and a hobo shower(also a bucket and soap, but with a privacy stall). Most of the hikers that I've been hiking around took a zero there. I am just getting into my groove, so I took care of my chores, which means I resupplied and washed my filthy socks, then I left. Unfortunately, by this time it was noon and I had a good bit of elevation ahead of me to climb and a wide open field to cross. Not one of my better decisions. I should have waited until later in the day to leave, but there are a few people in my bubble I needed to get some separation from. I hoped to gain 10 miles on this crowd and get into a different bubble. I'm sad to be leaving a few cool people behind, but I'm sure we will all see each other again.
There isn't much to say about the second part of my day. It was hot, my hands got even more sunburnt, and I was stupid and almost ran out of water. I walked alongside a creek for several miles today. It was the first running water I've seen on the trail. I haven't been drinking all of the water that I usually carry, so it didn't cross my mind to stop and grab any of the delicious flowing water. STUPID. I later noticed the water source I was straining to get to was .2 miles downhill and from a crummy source. STUPID.
Luckily, disaster was averted. Yesterday I briefly met Rosie J and her mom, Amy. Rosie was hiking today with her friend, Max(thru hiker). We hit it off in our brief conversation yesterday and I was stoked to see her on the trail today. Her mom, Amy was picking her up later in the day and I was lucky to run into her right as I finished the last of my water. She graciously took me to her car and let me fill up my bottles with fresh delicious water that I didn't have to filter. Thanks Amy, you rock!
I made it into camp shortly after saying goodbye to Rosie. I camped at the top of a ridge with a great view. I saw my first sunset of the trail and had great dinner conversation with Bear, High Mileage, and Balast.
It is way past my bedtime of 8 pm. I'm hoping to continue my early morning routine.
This man beside us also has a hard fight with an unfavouring world, with strong temptations, with doubts and fears, with wounds of the past which have skinned over, but which smart when they are touched. It is a fact, however surprising. And when this occurs to us we are moved to deal kindly with him, to bid him be of good cheer, to let him understand that we are also fighting a battle; we are bound not to irritate him, nor press hardly upon him nor help his lower self.
-John Watson, The Homely Virtues, 1903
Put another way in many forms but difficult to accurately attribute:
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.