30 April 2008

Warner Springs --> Pines-to-Palm Hwy

A group of us caught a ride from kick-off back to warner springs. When catching a ride, I find it helpful to not plan on big miles. Usually hitches have more time consuming steps than I originally envision, I only hoped to go 5-miles to the first water source that Sunday.

Now in Warner Springs, I was able to relax and make a few phone calls, nap and eat a 2nd lunch before heading north to campsite near Aqua Calinte Creek. I slept near cup-o-joe, joanne and andrea, plus a few 100 years away from sly and papa bear had setup camp.

Aqua Caliente Creek was very rehabilitating to my spirit. Three zero days at kick-off made hiking seem abnormal. I guess I haven’t settled into a “hiking-lifestyle” yet, when the trail is home and zero days are excursions. In the fast flowing creek, I was able to find a spot downstream to soak my feet, aiding my Achilles slow recovery and strengthening.

Reviewing data book materials and water reports for this next section, I load out a casual pace. I had a package awaiting me at Paradise café off PCT at Pines to Palm Hwy and they would be closed Tuesdays. So hiking on Monday and Tuesday, involved many breaks in shade and naps. My routine of early mornings still is my preference and I enjoy walking a modest 2.5 mph pace. If I want to do more miles I just hike a longer day.

One of the unexpected results of kick-off was what I call the Warner Springs Herd. As hikers arrived Tuesday-Friday before KO in Warner Springs they’d hitch rides back to Lake Morena, but after KO many of them left Sunday after. As a result water sources, seem to crowd quickly as I would rest hikers south of me caught up. I was surprised how quickly, I was agitated by numbers. After about 4 hikers, I could feel my skin tensing???? And my mind restless.

I went to share on water source that has humorous story. Down a side road a home owner kindly allows hikers to get water from a tank. The story goes that the former owners were growing pot and hat this property confiscated and now the new owner mike bought it from the government. I spent several hours enjoying KO left-over which had been left in coolers on his porch. I even played around doing pull-ups his outside personal gym.

The trail continues to roll up and down and twits through gullies and saddles. In small isolated canyons, such as Nancy’s Creek Canyon, oaks grow, shading tall grass. I spent an hour relaxing with friends waiting for the hot afternoon sun to rest. I hiked on to the anza water cache and made dinner prior to a few more miles of hiking to setup camp.

The last night before resupply, strong winds were ???? to dark clouds and cooler temperatures. When I awoke, I was grateful to be carrying a down coat to keep comfortable in camp. The trail was part of a cloud as I clamed Table mtn. The sun didn’t burn through until almost 11:00am. By this time I had finished the descent into Pines-to-Palms Hwy.

I crossed the highway to connect the PCT, prior to my jubilant march to Paradise Café. Along the 1 mile road walk, I picked-up some trash with joanne and andrea. Paradise was full of 17 hikers by 11am. News of the Apache Peak fire irrupting north bound trail spread quickly. For now, I enjoy a pint and a Jose burger.


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