Day 7: Up Into The Clouds

April 24, 2017

Total miles: 17.4 miles

Start: Warner Springs Resource Center (mile 109.5)

End: Mike’s Place (mile 126.9)

Total elevation gain/loss: 1463.3/285.2ft

This morning we split up in an attempt to get out of town as efficiently as possible. Michael stayed and packed up camp while I went to pick up our resupply package from the Post Office. The PO was a mile away and I feared that it would be swamped with hikers trying to get their boxes (since it was closed yesterday).

I left the Resource Center at about 7am and attempted to hitch into town (I’m lazy, what can I say?). I was starting to fear it was a lost cause (no cars going my way), when Candice pulled over and gave me a ride. Yay!

I ended up getting to the PO about 45 minutes early and no one was there. Fortunately, there was an unlocked (and heated) inside area to sit and wait. My strategy paid off because when the postmaster showed up he immediately got me my box and then made everyone else (waiting outside) wait while he dealt with the mail currently being delivered. I quickly caught another hitch with an older couple that had planned to go to the PO but saw the line and was back by 8:06! Of course, had I waited until after 8, I could have gotten a ride with the sheriff’s deputy who was shuttling hikers to and from the PO. I love this town! Obviously a nice donation was in order.

We sorted through our box and held our snack draft. We keep our breakfasts and snacks separately so that we can each eat at our own pace without worrying about the other. After we get each box, we organize the snacks by category (big bars, little bars, misc. snacks) and quickly take turns picking what we want. We should have plenty to eat in this section!

We didn’t make it out of town until 9:45, but the day felt cooler than some of the recent ones. Michael’s thermometer read only 75 degrees.

More easy walking through grassy fields.

The rolling hills and oak trees were a peaceful start to the day. We were on a roll, starting out at about 3mph — it’s amazing what a half-day’s rest and a foot bath will do! We stopped after about 6 miles at our last water source for the next 11 miles and enjoyed a relaxing lunch by the creek. Normally we don’t cook at lunch, but I was feeling indulgent (also we had an extra dinner left over).

Oak trees! Reminds me of home.

Back up into the hills.

Stream crossings = water!

We had 11 miles to go after lunch before our intended stopping poor and we’re doing pretty well until my right glute (my butt) started to hurt on the uphills. Unfortunately, we were going uphill. We stopped for me to stretch a couple times and the I slowly made my way.

Also stopped to photograph lizards.

We spotted these planes. It looked like the second plane was a glider being pulled by the first.

The landscape became rocky and the path wound its way around the large boulders.

The afternoon turned out to be a bit overcast (our first clouds of the hike), and the wind started blowing. By the time we got to Mike’s Place it was downright blustery.

Mike’s Place is the home of a trail angel (named, you guessed it, Mike) that is right off trail during a long dry stretch. He has a tank of water set up for hikers and then invites hikers to stay on his property and even cooks sometimes. I’d heard tell of wood-fired pizza, but by the time I showed up I just wanted water and a place to pitch my tent.

Easier said than done. The ground at Mike’s is hard and there were already a bunch of people with tents set up when we arrived at 6:30 p.m. It was also cold and the wind was roaring. We tried to use rocks to set up our non-freestanding tent, but the wind was too strong and blew the rocks out of place. Wanting to get warm and find out what hot food people were digging into, I gave up on the tent and suggested we just set up our pads and sleeping bags on the covered (and hopefully wind-protected) porch.

The caretakers (Mike wasn’t there) had cooked up beans, fresh bread, and cookies. I was so tired that it was nice to have a hot dinner without needing to do the cooking (and cleaning) ourselves.

While getting my food, one of the guys mentioned that it was going to freeze and be wet tonight because we’d be in the clouds (we’re high up). Umm… hopefully sleeping on the porch is a good move. Although with this wind and hard ground, I’m not sure the tent would be better (plus condensation from the clouds).

Sleeping on the porch.

It’s too cold to read or type on my phone from my (warm) sleeping bag. An early night it is.

Current ailments:

Elizabeth: I was too cold and tired to look at my feet; sore right glute; chafing (cont.)

Michael: 1 old blister; misc. muscle tightness

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