Tule Spring, mile 137
I left Warner Springs two days ago, and hiked out about 4 miles before finding a nice spot to camp. Had a late start (4:30pm) so I had just enough time to set up camp & drift off.
The next morning was somewhat leisurely: wake up whenever I woke up (about 8am), stretched, did a short video blog, had something to eat, then got on the trail at 9:30. Started out in beautiful, rolling woods, yet not quite full pines. Still too much desert-ness to this area. I headed up into the hills…and headed…and headed. It was essentially one long uphill climb all day. Temperatures got up to almost 100, and the next reliable water source was at Chihuahua Rd., at a trail angels house 1/4 mile off the trail. I started off the day feeling pretty good, but my ankles were feeling the pain about 7 miles into the hike. At that point, I was stopping every hour to eat some trail mix, drink 16 ounces of water, and rest for 10 minutes before strapping on the pack & shuffling my creaky-ankled self a little farther along the trail. I spotted Chihuahua Rd. long before I could ever get to it, but the PCT winds in and out of so many hillsides and valleys, it was almost 2 hours before I ever reached it. What a psychological tease! Those were the longest two hours of the day. I need to toughen up my mind for that type of thing.
I finally pulled myself into trail angel Mikes’ house, and from a distance I could hear talking, laughter & music. Undoubtedly other hikers! I limped into the company of Orbit, Mangina, Zino, SuperClaw, and Stickman was soon to follow. Apparently half the chicken population of the greater Chihuahua Road area was cooking up on the grill, as well as green beans & baked beans with meat. I was handed a semi cold Keystone Ice which was downright icy compared to anything else within 75 miles, and it quickly disappeared. I was parched, sore, dehydrated, and extremely glad to be there!
After a little bit, the group moved to the back porch (where I’d end up sleeping later that night…wonderful!). One of the hosts brought out an amazing cornucopia of musical instruments, including: a batch of harmonicas, a guitar, a drum, a trumpet, a variety of flutes, a long & short set of djideridoos, and…an accordion. Seriously the most mixed up set of musical tools I’d ever seen arranged in one place! I’d love to say the music was incredibly inspiring, harmonic, and we all jelled quickly as musicians…but as you can see by the video, it was sonic chaos! A lot of fun, and really had a good time, especially watching everyone try different instruments. A while later, it was dinner (Ramen noodles w/ couscous), and then bed.
I woke at 6am this morning, packed up, talked to the few that were up, and headed out to the trail by 7. My goal was to hike only 10 miles, and I hit it right on the nose. The gimpy ankles felt bad until I started hiking, then never were an issue the rest of the day. They’re definitely tender, but I have a different pair of shoes & insoles waiting for me in Idyllwild, which is a couple days up the trail. Hopefully those will help. Essentially though, I just started out doing too many miles each day, and straying from my original plan of the first two weeks consisting of 10-12 mile days. Oh well, now I’m paying for it, but I’m trying to be smart. I hiked my 10 miles today by 11:30am, and I set up camp, and will be sleeping here tonight. In the morning I will be waking up at about 4:30am, on the trail about 5:00, and try to make it to Paradise Cafe by early afternoon. The cafe is known for possibly the best burger along the entire PCT, and I’ve heard that some people have eaten one, hiked on, then hitchhiked back to eat another the next day! I’m so ready for it!!
I’m camping tonight at the Tule Canyon spring, mile 137, and have taken the time to wash all my clothes, and even take a bath. It felt amazing! (Gatorade bottles are good for more than drinking from!) The ants are a bit of a nuisance here, but they aren’t the biting kind, so I’ll have to share my bag for the night I suppose. :)
The sun is starting to go down and I’m going to eat one more snack, listen to some music, then sleep & let my body heal before the march towards Burgerville tomorrow morning!