Warner springs – tent site
22.8 miles. 3663ft up. 3474ft down.
It was pretty noisy last night but once I was asleep I didn’t hear a thing. I was distracted by cell service so I managed not to fall asleep before 9 for once! I was a bit sweaty when I woke up but outside it was freezing. Toe pain hand numbing cold.
After getting rid of the rest of our trash and using the clean odouriferous bathrooms we were on our way. I was trying to ignore the pain in my feet and just push through until they warmed up. It didn’t take long and for the sun to come up. It turned all the grasses golden as it illuminated them. It was only 3 miles to eagle rock. What’s not to like about eagle rock. It’s a cool rock. I ran up to the top and climbed up onto its head. Just because it was there. I came back down and waited for Catwater. I knew she wouldn’t want to go up there, she’s not a big fan of the eagle shaped rock.
We carry on through the open meadows. I love this part of the trail. I see some cows up ahead. Uh-oh. A runner is coming the other way and walks through them, takes some pictures without any problem. She stops to chat and congratulates me for being so close to the end.
I approach the cows. They do not like me. They all stare at me. As I walk forward they start to follow me. Great. No what do I do?! I’m stuck in the middle of them and there is one right in the middle of the trail blocking my path. Ugh. Cows. They are so annoying! I hear Catwater behind me shout ‘puff puff! The cows are following you’. I know! They are all staring at me. I have no idea what I should do. Stay still? Run? Shout at them?
The one in front of me won’t move so I go behind it giving it a wide berth. They surge forwards towards me and I keep walking away. Catwater comes along and just walks right through them! Stupid cows.
We carry on through the meadows and then back up into the trees. We had a lot of conflicting information about barrel springs so we carried enough water to not need to stop here, but the water was flowing fast out of the pipe. I wouldn’t have wanted to stop for water though because there were about 100 buzzy stingy things around.
We move on. It’s only 9 more miles to the next water, the third gate cache. The trail is nice easy walking and a few clouds start to gather so it’s not so hot. I was busy making a 5000 mile sign so I didn’t really eat anything at the last stop. I ate my second twix of the day which and basically turned to liquid. I felt hot but not that hot. The trail is so beautiful and last year I found this section so so hard. My hip had locked up, it was a billion degrees and it felt really steep. Now it’s just a pleasure. I see a few hunters (I thought hunting season was over?) and a few hikers. One man, who looked very clean and like he had only been hiking for a few hours, responded to my question ‘how’s it going?’ with ‘I’m very fatigued’. You’re very fatigued!!
Over the last two miles my legs were really starting to ache, hopefully it’s just because there wasn’t a great deal of variation in the up and down on the trail this afternoon. I made it to the turning for the water. There was a gallon bottle at the top of the trail which I could have taken water from but I decided to go down to the cache which was down a 0.3 mile side trail. The cache is amazing. So well organised and so well maintained. I collected a litre and a half and went back up to wait for Catwater. She arrived at the same time I did and she went down to get water.
We had done 18 miles and it was only 3pm so we could squeeze in a few more. The closer we are to Julian the closer we are to food. We hike on and chat as we go down the trail. The sky is starting to look a bit threatening and I think I can feel a few drops. The rain doesn’t come to much but it was definitely raining in the distance because there was a little rainbow. Everyone loves a rainbow.
We find our camp spot at 4:45 and pitch our tents before it gets dark, just in time for a beautiful sunset. My stomach had been rumbling for the last hour or so so I had a chocolate shake, my shepherds cottage pie, the rest of my Swiss cheese, the rest of my pringles and chips ahoy. Now I feel a bit sick. And still hungry for a burger.
I also had an incredible thirst and drank a lot of my water. I’ve left myself about three quarters of a litre for the 9 miles tomorrow. I’m still thirsty but it’s the type of thirst only a sprite can quench.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps.