April 17, 2017
Third Gate – Warner Springs (91.19-109.5)
I got up and ready in the dark this morning, and was hiking by 6am. The sunrise this morning was gorgeous, and the sky was filled with pinks and purples as the first light touched the hills.
The morning started with a few miles of climbing up, and then many more miles of winding around and around the sides of the hills. Starting early was definitely a good idea. The morning was shady and cool. My feet stopped hurting after a few miles and then I was cruising along, and soon reached the 100 mile marker!
I almost made my first 10 by 10 day (10 miles by 10am), but just missed it at 9.5 miles. I made it down to the first water source at Barrel Spring by 10:30, which I decided was too early to take a long break. I met Saunter, who had thru-hiked last year and was back for round 2.
After a short break to drink my coffee shake and grab a bit of water, I decided to keep moving to the next water source, San Ysidro Creek, 4 miles away.
The day had gotten hot, the morning clouds had disappeared and the sun was beating down. The trail went through an insane variety of environments today. In the morning, it was the classic ridge winding, then it dropped down into a lush forested area, and soon I was crossing a grassy field that rippled in the wind like water.
The area where the creek was was lovely, with tons of shade to choose from. There was a little waterfall where I washed my feet, and it felt like a little (ice cold) jacuzzi. I laid there and had lunch while resting my legs and feet. There was a moment where I suddenly realized that the transformation into hiker trash is definitely occurring, as I sat in the dirt pawing through my food bag like a wild animal, covered in dirt and smelling like trash.
A thru-hiker lunch spread
I wanted the break to be longer, but Warner Springs was only 4.5 miles away and impatience got the better of me. There was a short climb up from the creek, and then more grassy fields. I passed the infamous Eagle Rock. I descended into a lush green forest where the trail paralleled a bubbling creek. It was lovely, but my feet hurt, leg muscles I didn’t even know existed hurt, and I just wanted to get to Warner Springs and relax.
As I finally walked up to the town resource centre, someone shouted, “Welcome to Warner!!”. I made it.
The Warner Springs resource centre is truly amazing. They’ve set it up to be a little hiker paradise. There’s free camping, WiFi, water, a charging station, a small resupply store, and a little gear outfitter set up. But the best part is the bucket shower and laundry. After claiming a spot for my tent, I immediately went to wash myself and my hiking clothes. It felt incredible. Never did I think that pouring buckets of water over my head would feel so good.
The awesome little gear shop by 2 Foot Adventures
I spent the rest of the day sitting around, using the Internet, and talking to other hikers. I went to the little gear shop and bought new shoes because mine were definitely too small. I’m trying out the Altra Lone Peaks because they have a nice wide toe box. Also, I think I may have found my trail name: Glowworm. A couple of other hikers started calling me that after they spent the morning following my neon bright shirt around the ridges. I like it.
I’m now in my tent, up late to post all the blogs and instagram photos I had saved up over the last week (and by late I mean 10pm). I think I’m going to use my ear plugs tonight so I can hopefully sleep in a bit tomorrow. There are a few people around me snoring pretty loud. Tonight’s dinner was chips, gummies, and peanut butter m&m’s… I don’t know if I brushed my teeth today… What am I becoming?