Day 9 – Warner Springs to Mike’s Place, mile 127

Got up 5.45am, left 7.30am after several good byes. Some hikers with the same start date (i.e. my “bubble”) stayed behind to let their blisters or other injuries heal. The good byes were not so easy… You don’t know if you will meet someone on trail again.

Hiking out of Warner Springs

I had a really good start after the day rest and stopped for my 2+ hours lunch break at 11.30am already at mile 121, just 6 more to go.

Arrived in Mike’s place around 5pm.

Mike’s place… And interesting place that I have to describe. The first impression… It is a big property away from any towns, accessible via a 4WD road. One house, a big garage, an outdoor kitchen. Car wrecks and trash everywhere. An old huge RV abandoned on the side of the road (I was thinking “Breaking bad”).
I was welcomed by a guy in a poncho with pizza and soft drinks. And reminded of the tip jar which only makes the trail magic at Mike’s possible. Several times. We were maybe 8 hikers, by nightfall rather 15. There was a freshly killed rattlesnake.. I played with its rattle. The place was sketchy. But a storm kept coming and we decided to stay. Some slept in the old RV, I slept with others on the porch of the house in a space called hikerbox, just protected from the weather with a mosquito net.

We were in for a cold night…

Day 8 – Zero Day at Warner Springs

Zero day – trail talk for a day with zero miles walked, i.e. resting day.

Slept great – probably in anticipation of doing nothing, just hanging out with hikers at the Warner Springs community resource center. And I love my ear plugs. Not just because of the noise of other hikers but also the wind.

We went on a group of maybe 8 to the restaurant of the nearby golf resort and enjoyed American breakfast and lots of coffee refills.

The day was fun done we all got to disguise ourselves with loaner clothes while washing ours.

Rotem played some tunes and let us bite the guitar.

Time to recharge batteries, eat and chat.

In the evening, Cactass and Gorgeous got us beer and chips. We had a relaxing mellow evening with music, beer, chips and smiles.

A great evening to end the first week of hiking.

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail – First Week Recap

Here I am in Warner Springs, mile 109 of the Pacific Crest Trail. After a week hiking, meeting so many friendly people sharing the same passion and destination Canada, it is time for a recap.

Body

Doing surprisingly good. I kept my daily miles around 15, following the advice of some good friends (Hello EightKnots! 😁)! No blisters, knees are good.

Soul

I am happy with the decision to hike the PCT so far. I did not find much time for myself. I had a good morning waking up alone in the desert watching sunrise – I am hoping for more moments like that. I met so many kind people – other hikers (Rotem, Eric, Maddy, Johanna, Paulina, Colin, just to mention a few), trail angels (Carmen). Giving kindess, expecting nothing. I am just beginning to appreciate that and let go.

Gear

I started with a setup that was improved after two long distance hikes in 2016 and 2017. Still I had trouble letting go too many unnecessary things. Eric helped me to let go some if these things – but still potential left. I ordered a new tent – it will be 600gr instead of 1.7kg in my backpack. Let’s what will be next to go into a hiker box or be shipped to a friend. It is good to travel light.

Trail

The PCT, here the desert section, is much different than I thought it would be. More ups and downs, amazing views, more greens – but as little shade as I was afraid of. On some days, there are barely enough shady spots to take a break every 2h.

What did I learn so far?

Take it slow.

Trust people.

You need much less than you think.

It’s about the smiles, not the miles.

Life is good (especially with a chocolate bar).

What’s next?

Just about 25 times the miles I walked so far. And hopefully a lot more of what I just started to taste – trail life.

It’s your road and your road alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.

Day 7 – Third Gate Water Cache to Warner Springs, mile 109

Woke up around 5.45am, the wind woke me up again and again during night. Was too tired to get my ear plugs. Paulina and Eric left earlier, so when I got out from my tent, I enjoyed the loneliness of the desert while watching sunrise. So beautiful.

I had planned 18 miles today to make it to Warner Springs. It is a very small town, but the Community Resource Center is selling some resupplies and camping is possible in their garden.

I arrived in Warner Springs after two water stops around 4.30pm, just in time before the shop in the community center closes.

Hiker Box in Warner Springs – full of shoes

Will stay here in Warner Springs tomorrow and have my first zero day (zero miles hiking) / rest day tomorrow.

Day 6 – Julian to Third Gate Cache, mile 91

Woke up at 6am, enjoyed a free breakfast burrito at Carmen’s.
After that the free apple pie at Mom’s.

Went to the Julian Post Office to lighten my backpack. Eric was already sitting there and helped with the shakedown. Thank you Eric! 👍 Eric is one of the guys who cut off the toothbrush handle to reduce weight. Sent clothes, ebook reader, maps, jacket to Steven. Got rid of some underwear, toilet paper…

Paulina, Eric and myself met to hitchhike back to trail around 10am.. we started the hiking around 12pm.

I felt super motivated with my lighter pack. Two hours later I had finished 7 miles! My fastest section so far, despite hiking uphill in the noon sun with no shade.

Soundtrack of today:

https://play.google.com/music/m/Bfh4keemd6jeru56x5cjxtg4os4?t=Billy_Idol_-_Billy_Idol

Arrived around 6.30pm at the water cache at mile 91 with Eric, Paulina followed shortly after. Dinner. Warm night with a bright moon.

Day 4 – Mount Laguna to Sunrise Trailhead, mile 59

This will be a good day. We all got up around 6am except Rotem… Guess that was the big wine bottle? 😁

The trail was even better than I hoped… There was water after 7 miles and the air was much cooler. Trees, shade, mostly downhill.

I was pretty fast. I had started with 4 liters but saw after 7 miles that I only needed 1.5. So I adjusted for the next 4 miles piece.

Arrived here at the water 11 miles in for my siesta around 12pm.

Many other hikers arrived. We made the plan to camp at mile 59 where a water tank was waiting – it would be an 18 miles day. We left the shades around 3pm and took on the last 7 miles.

We made it to camp around 6.30pm. Short before, I had my first trail magic experience!