Entry #5: Warner Springs, Creaky Ankles, & “Heading North”

May 9, 2011
Day 7, Warner Springs


What a day! Started out in not so favorable conditions: camped atop a high mountain ridge (see photo in video), wind tearing up the side of the mountain in response to the differing pressure systems in the valley below, about 38 degrees, with no sun in sight at about 5:30am. Where was I? Huddled under my wet sleeping bag, which was covered by a tarp soaking with rain on the outside and heavy condensation on the inside, laying in a puddle of water with my clothes soaked clean through. Not good! I decided to stay in that situation, as undesirable as it was, rather than to expose myself to the current temperatures. I’d wait another 90 minutes to allow for slightly warmer temperatures, then break camp & hike like I had a crazed, rabid dwarf chimpanzee on my back, over the crest of the mountain, down the other side, and into the valley below where I knew warmer climes awaited.

As we were breaking camp, slinging my pack over my shoulder, a hiker stopped & introduced himself. His name is Heading North, from the U.K., 63, and he’s also heading north. :). I hiked with him the entire way to Warner Springs, where we picked up our resupply packages from the post office (thanks sis!), got a very cheap room (we fit 4 people in one very reasonably priced room & split the bill…grimy, dirty, smelly? Yes. Economically aware? For sure!). Hiking with Heading North was truly one of the most pleasurable parts of this journey so far. I hope everyone has an opportunity to hike/work/know a kind, gentle soul as him someday. Brilliant chap! He’s currently snoring in the other room, undoubtedly dreaming of the next set of uphill mountain switchbacks he gets to climb.

After devouring every single delicious homemade caramel in my care package (I adore you!!), I headed out to find WiFi to (finally) upload the journal entries & a video or two (more are coming!) and have some dinner. I found a very nice note on my blog from Anya, a student in my friend Jean’s 3rd grade class she teaches. It was very encouraging and uplifting to know her class is following along. So, hello everyone in Anya’s 3rd grade class! You are awesome! Thank you all for coming on this journey with me!

After dinner, I headed down to the sulphur hot springs located here. Very hot, very relaxing, and my body sure was grateful for the soak! The hot springs here has been used for thousands of years by the native people of this land, and have always been looked at as having healing, healthy attributes. I could use that right about now! As I was in the hot spring pool, I saw Gabriel (who I wrote about in the first entry) walk up. He had heard i was there, and actually had found me in the pool from an entry on my website! Totally fun stuff. It was great to see him! I had heard through the PCT grapevine that he and Marmot were here (they arrived yesterday), so it was awesome to see him. We talked a bit, then he left to find Marmot, and brought her back to see me as well, and she did a special dance she said was her “I’m happy to see you!” dance. It was incredible. I have no doubt we’ll see that dance on Broadway someday! :). They will be heading out tomorrow morning so they’ll again be a day ahead of me. If you guys read this, I truly appreciate both of you and wish you many blisterless & happy miles until I see you again.

My feet & I, enjoying rare shade in the desert...


Now, it’s bedtime, in a real bed, drinking a lot of Gatorade and Emergen-C to replenish my needy body. Tomorrow is my first true “zero” day, and I’m planning to stretch, massage, rest, & rehydrated my sore muscles. Good night!

100 Miles!!

Rawhide (aka “ManChild”)

"Heading North"...a very good guy. Safe travels, friend!

This entry was posted in Dug Shelby, Human Trafficking, Life Without Limbs, Mumbai Teen Challenge, Pacific Crest Trail, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Entry #5: Warner Springs, Creaky Ankles, & “Heading North”

  1. Dan says:

    Hey Dug! Having fun watching your videos. Always wanted to do PCT myself. Someday!

    Curiosity – are you planning to head west or east when you get to Walker Pass? I know, that’s probably weeks away. If you were planning to head East out to ridgecrest for resupply / zero day, let me know, I can give you a ride back to the trail. I would be happy to give you a ride into town as well but I never have luck w/ my cell phone at walker pass so not sure how to set that up. Also, its hard to tell but in video one it looked like you had two bottles? When you get to the southern sierra water can be 16-20 miles apart, so it might be good to carry double that. But you probably know already. 😀

    I live in Ridgecrest, BTW. I can tell you where all the good stuff is here in town. Ok, not so much ‘good’ but “usefull” for you. If you are heading west to resupply in Onxy or Weldon that’s fine, I know a lot of folks do that. Either way, if its a weekend, give me a buzz and I could move you around. Hopefully I can find a way to help you since I can’t be out there on the trail.

    • thf2 says:

      Thanks Dan! I appreciate that! I’ll be updating as often as I can, so i’ll be checking my blog and see if it fits. You gotta get out here someday, it’s incredible! 🙂

  2. Little Sis says:

    Hey Bro,
    Glad to hear you are taking a zero day..take it easy at first and our lovable tortise will make it the whole way. 🙂
    Dont worry about things here, your girl has superglued herself to me and one of her favorite spots is sitting on my chest while I “work” on the computer…she leverages herself into the crevasse between my chin and chest and slobbers all over my neck while purring furriously. 🙂 I am fairly certain that by now I could make another cat with the amount of “one fuzzies” I have up my nose. lol
    Have a great time and be good to yourself. We all miss you!

    • thf2 says:

      It does me good to hear that! I miss her very much, but I knew she’d glue to you. You have “One Loffer” written all over you. I’m sorry to hear about her walk on the criminal element side, peeing in spots meant for anything but… Thank you for loving her in spite of… I’m tortoising up a little faster each day, some days better than others, but I’m hoping to keep “heading north,” as my new friends trail name says. I miss you!! Hi John! Hi Spencer! 🙂

  3. Dan says:


    I have done sections around US50 in CA (I grew up east of Sacto) and a lot of small pieces around here near Walker Pass and Kennedy Meadows. I have a 2.5 yr old so financially and personally I can’t do it at the moment (My wife might not mind me gone for 4-5 months, but leaving her with a 2.5 yr old not so much! lol) I’m never quite certain how folks can take off work for 5 months financially.

    I hope when you are all done you can put all your videos togeather into a DVD. I’d buy it! You have a great sense of humor and it comes through so far in the videos.

    One question on Blisters – why the string? Does it keep it open over night to drain?

    Keep it up! 😀

    • thf2 says:

      Hey Dan! I can understand the financial part, although I don’t have kids, so that makes it easier for me. (a cat named “Pittsburgh,” but she’s like a kid!). I hope you get to do this someday. It’s not lost on me how special of an experience this is, and how many people actually get to, so it’s a privilege to make videos & relay the experience to others. Maybe someday you’ll be able to do this with your kid(s). That would be a dream! As for the blisters, I think what it does is create two exit points for the blister to slowly seep, and the thread acts as a little highway. Treating the thread with antibiotic cream (in my case Neosporin) keeps the inside skin of the blister from getting infected. The blister is allowed to drain, dry, and the sensitive skin underneath heal & toughen without exposing it fully…creating even more pain. At least, that’s what it seems to do! Those were the only blisters of the trail so far…

  4. Devon says:

    Hey dude!! You made it to the first watering hole. Very cool. We have been thinking of you.

    • thf2 says:

      Just got off the phone with you! Knowing you’re following the journey makes me all warm & fuzzy. So are you in after your retirement? Only 15 more years!

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