Day 8 – walking thru a desert wonderland

Date: April 11, 2016

Third gate (mile 91.5) to Warner Springs (mile 109.5)

Miles: 18

Last night we camped with at least 7 other people. Third gate was a popular place, possibly because of the water cache or a convenient, doable destination from scissors crossing.

It was a restless night for both of us. We were one of the later ones to arrive at the designated camp spots and got one with a bit of a slope. Andy’s luxury item is a pillow and the pillow propped on top of his backpack served as a very comfortable blogging position.

Laurie fell asleep snuggled in next to him as he wrote. Needless to say, instead of sleeping with our heads on the upslope as we intended, we slept with our heads downhill propped up on our backpacks. It was comfortable to start but not at 2 am. Not to mention the sounds of snoring from the nearby tents. Maybe this is why we prefer to camp on our own?!

We started hiking at 7:15. The sky was blue with scattered clouds and as the day wore on the cloud cover increased. We enjoyed the cool temps as the trail wound around the hillsides. For 9 miles we maintained elevation before dropping down to barrel springs at mile 101.5.

We have hiked over 100 miles. Yippee!!!

We then walked across open grassland. It was beautiful to see the trail meandering in the distance past wooden PCT posts.

This was the prettiest day on the trail thus far. We really enjoyed our walk. The clouds were threatening all day but managed to hold off most of the afternoon.

This was really nice because around mile 106 we hiked to Eagle Rock. Like the monument at the Southern Terimus, this place was surreal for Andy. He had seen so many pictures of this place from other people’s blogs. And now, we had walked here ourselves. A very proud moment for both of us.

A mile after we left Eagle Rock, the clouds opened up, first with a few droplets. “Not too bad” we thought.

But then loud thunder clapped overhead. The rain intensified. And shortly after lightning joined in on the party.

So much for hot desert hiking.

Rain turned to hail, followed by more thunder and one more lightning strike directly above us. We were the tallest things around. Not a situation we felt comfortable in at all so we hiked faster and furter until we got into the trees.

By this point our shoes were soaked and the trail was a riverbed. Mercifully the rain lost its tenacity as we reached Warner Springs.

This wonderful community opens its resource center to hikers during the season. Everything is donation based. Andy ate chicken noodle soup and eventually Laurie got her hot water (once we figured out how to use the machine).

Once the rain stopped we left the center to put up our tent. Laurie stayed to make our home for the night while Andy went back to charge his phone.

Eventually Laurie joined in. She’s not feeling so hot. Today was a hard day. Long miles, funky weather, plus a sore throat, another blister, followed by chafing and finally a stuffy nose and a headache.

Laurie’s a trooper though and we both hope that with good sleep she’ll be fine by morning.

On a happier note, we are slowly becoming more social. Both of us feel a bit hesitant around other hikers and continue to ask ourselves why. Laurie struggles with small talk and at the end of a long hiking day she is too tired and doesn’t have the energy to engage in smalltalk. Tonight, Andy was great at introducing himself and with his smile he is quick to make friends.

For now, we are going to brush up and go to bed in tent city to the sounds of frogs.

Today we are grateful for clear skies and wonderful, supportive partners.

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Most hikers we've seen all trail!

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14 thoughts on “Day 8 – walking thru a desert wonderland

  1. Great pics and really enjoying the story! Paul and I read each instalment in the evening here and admire the pictures. Love the cacti. I can totally relate to the feelings about socializing; I like our privacy when we are on the trail, too. Your mileages are very impressive so early on; sounds like you are going great! Best, Donna and Paul.

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  2. Congrats on your first hundred miles. My husband and I do section hikes on the PCT and walked SoCal section a,b,c in 2014. Your descriptions bring back lots of good memories. Thanks. I get awkward too around people while hiking. I think it is because I feel like I need to say something or be something other than what I am. Or I just feel crowded mentally after all the miles alone in my head. Don’t sweat it. A simple smile and hi conveys all that is necessary. Good luck on your journey. Get well Laurie.

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  3. I have enjoyed reading these thanks for blogging I feel like I am on this adventure with you both. Baby fed will be here in the next few weeks and we will start an adventure of our own.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Greetings from Oakland. Dennis and I are really enjoying your blog and look forward to each days segment. Can identify with the blisters, the soggy feet,
    the exhaustion and the surge of energy when you drink in the beauty of the desert and beautiful landscape dotted with flowers.

    Hope you feel better very soon Laurie..How wonderful how supportive
    both of you are with each other. That’s what a loving relationship is
    all about..

    Hugs and love to both of you
    Auntie Jean

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    • Thanks auntie jwan! This cold is persistent and not fun, particularly in the evenings but it won’t stop us!
      I love you. Thanks for the birthday call, sorry I missed you!

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  5. My son just hit the 100 mile. ZAPATOS
    I hope he also pulls into Warner Springs
    tonight. He has to carry more H20
    so base weight is 10 pounds. He is use to desert heat though. He has always wanted to do the ACT but switched with so many lyme disease issues to PCT.
    He loves hiking, trail running. I told him to wat c h your blog. Blessings

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