Day 8-11: Rainbows, Eagles, and Cowboy Camping
Day 8: Mile 87-101; 14 miles
We were battered by a fierce storm last night, but stayed dry. Rain continued into the morning, and we emerged from our tent to a sweet rainbow.
We began hiking and found a crazy mix of wind, rain, sun, clouds, and blue sky — sometimes all at once! Looking across the valley, we saw billowing clouds resting on the top of the far ridge with deep blue sky above.
We walked to the water cache at mile 91 where we found many water jugs. Several trail angels puts in a ton of effort to bring water up here. We were grateful as without the cache, this could have been a 33 mile dry stretch.
A strong wind buffeted us the whole day. At the close of the day we crossed the 100 mile mark!
Day 9: Mile 101-109; 8 miles + 2.4 off trail to Warner Springs post office
Since we were nearing a town we had not expected the morning’s walking to be anything special, but we enjoyed a lovely trek through a pasture with grassy hills. We saw our first cows of the hike, and they looked quite content, as they should given the scenery.
Plus, we rode an eagle, which rocked.
After several miles we reached Warner Springs, where we retrieved our first food boxes and bounce box from the small post office. Outside we chatted with Keala, washed clothes in the faucet, backed up photos, charged batteries, cut our nails, and wrote thank you postcards to people who have donated to the Nature Conservancy.
In the late afternoon we walked back to the PCT and set up the tent in a sandy area near a creek. Frogs serenaded us to sleep after sunset.
Day 10: Mile 109-117; 8 miles
Since we hadn’t taken a zero day (a rest day walking zero miles) yet, we decided to at least make this a more relaxing day. To start, we slept in until 8! Then we stopped at the Warner Springs Community Center, which is right next to the trail, for a pancake and egg breakfast. Around 11am we hit the trail for a couple miles. It wasn’t too long before we stopped and enjoyed the shade and cool waters of Agua Caliente Creek. Soaking our feet in the cold water was like icing them. It felt perfect. We saw critters living underwater on the rocks which indicated good water quality.
Our relaxing day was going great until Anna started getting pain in her right shin. The pain was increasing the farther we walked so we decided to camp early. Our hypothesis was that the shin pain was caused by the trail which was tilted to one side for many miles.
In the evening, we cowboy camped (just sleeping bags, no tent) in a small area surrounded by scrub brush. Above us, the half moon hung in a pristine blue sky as night slowly descended.
Day 11: Mile 117- 126.5; 9.5 + 0.4 miles off trail for water
Cowboy camping did us well last night! We both slept quite well, about 10 hours. Anna’s shin was better after resting but still irritable so we decided to play it safe with another shorter mileage day. We walked three miles, then stopped for water at Lost Valley Spring, which was 0.2 miles off trail. The sun hadn’t crested the ridge yet so the morning air was comfortably cool.
Around noon, we passed through a huge bowl strewn with massive rocks. Tiny springs seeped through the rocks occasionally.
We’re hoping Anna’s shin is back to 100% tomorrow because we want to start increasing our mileage. Fortunately, the rest of our bodies are adapting well to the stresses of the trail.