Mt. Laguna to Warner Springs

Mt. Laguna to Warner Springs

April 20, 2014

Start: Halfmile 0047.5
End: Halfmile 0068.5
Distance: 21.0 Mi
Cumulative: 68.5 Mi

Kind of a long day to Rodriguez Spur Trail, but I made it without too much trouble. Ended up hiking much of the day with Phantom and Mammoth. Phantom started calling me Lone Ranger, because I like to hike alone and sport that sweet straw cowboy hat. He says I dart in and out of drainages and always seem to be steadily coming over the next rise or around the next corner. I don’t really like it; it feels forced. It grew on me some over the course of the day, so I introduced myself that way tonight in camp. It feels awkward. We’ll see, but I’m gonna stick with Ethan for the time being.

April 21, 2014

Start: Halfmile 0068.5
End: Halfmile 0101.5
Distance: 33.0 Mi
Cumulative: 101.5 Mi

Got up at 230a this morning. Wanted to be hiking by 330a to beat some of the heat. I was looking at a long, hot, possibly dry 33 miles between water sources. In theory, there are two water caches between Rodriguez and Barrel Spring, but you never know how well-stocked they’ll be, especially given the 1,000+ aspiring thru-hikers this season. I left with 5.5 L, figuring I could make it on that, though I hoped I wouldn’t have to. Fortunately, both Scissors Crossing (9 miles in) and Third Gate (23 miles in) we’re stocked. I made Scissors by 630a, so I grabbed a liter and kept moving. It was 1230p before I made Third Gate, right in the heat of the day. There had been almost no shade to that point, but Third Gate Cache was an oasis in an otherwise barren, fire-scorched landscape. I took the allotted 2 liters, found some shade, ate lunch, and took a nap. I was hiking again by 230p. It was still hot but wouldn’t be for too much longer. There was some climbing, but it was mostly steady downhill this afternoon. As the sun eased toward the horizon, the winding drainages and low shrubs started to yield ever-longer shadows. I dropped all the way into a cool valley shaded by what I think were huge oak trees. It was Barrel Springs. I made it just before 6p. I’d been cruising for the better part of my 14.5 hour day, and I’d covered an incredible 33 miles. Day 4 and my first 30! I’ll sleep well tonight!

April 22, 2014

Start: Halfmile 0101.5
End: Halfmile 0114.5
Distance: 13.0 Mi
Cumulative: 114.5 Mi

Just made it to Warner Springs Resource Center, a quick 10 miles from my campsite. I cowboy camped last night underneath a lovely shade tree in a quiet field just beyond Barrel Spring. It was nice to get away from the crowd.

The walk this morning was wonderful. The clouds shaded my path, and I knew there would be a shower and a burger when I arrived. I didn’t waste a moment. I’ve already had my shower…now I’m just waiting for lunch! I’m debating whether I’ll press on tonight or start at first light. Or take a zero here tomorrow. Gotta check the route and see how I feel after a few hours. I’ve been chaffing the last few days, so that’s a small concern. I’ll get some vaseline when I pick up my resupply this afternoon. My skin is already getting tougher, so it may take care of itself.

Oh, I almost forgot. Settled on a trail name today. No, not Lone Ranger. I was packing up this morning when Zippy and Kevin cruised by. They stopped to chat me up. Zippy asked about my day. I told him I covered the full 33. When Kevin asked how I felt this morning, I told him I was feeling good. He scoffed and said: “What, are you just back from Sochi?!” I smiled and told him about my training in Colorado this past winter. “Guess it paid off,” I said. After they hiked away, it dawned on me. Sochi. I liked it. It was organic, not forced. He hadn’t intended to give me a trail name, but he had. Introduced myself that way when I arrived here. It wasn’t so awkward. I’ll keep it.