Miles: 12.84
Camping: PCT mile 119.14
Hikers seen on trail: 9 + 1 dog

I woke up just as the sky was turning to a lovely shade of pink over the mountains to the east. I lay looking through the mesh of my tent, enjoying those truly silent moments afforded by an early morning. The other hikers that camped nearby were just starting to stir, and I lazily exited my tent, feeling rested and unhurried. I only had to hike 3 miles to Warner Springs, where breakfast was to be served at 8, and I could shower and charge my electronics there as well.

The Jolly Lama hadn’t arrived after I had slowly broken camp and let the other hikers get ahead of me, so I decided to make my way slowly up the shaded trail. It was a peaceful morning walk to town, where I spent my time enjoying the simple act of being in the moment. It takes effort, especially when the mind is given free range of thought out here.

I arrived just as the sign up sheet for breakfast was being passed around. I was pretty far down the list, but enjoyed the wait with Tortuga and Tula, catching up on trail talk. They served us scrambled eggs, pancakes and sausage with a cup of juice and coffee. It was delightful, especially since I haven’t had a pancake in years, and tend to enjoy my coffee cold while on the trail. Certain things just taste better when your body is craving calories, and I’m okay with the occasional splurge out here. Camp food isn’t all that great, but I imagine I will dial it in.

We all spent the day enjoying the relaxing environment provided. People were giving away food and other items in the hiker box, as we all re-assessed our needs vs wants in the weight capacity. Some things just aren’t worth carrying, and nearly everyone plans for too much food in the beginning. I am positive that will change as we get farther up the trail.

The resource center also provided plug-in foot baths with bubbles and epsom salts. I used one while chatting with my mom on the phone, while The Jolly Lama and Tortuga sat next to each other using theirs (one of my favorite pictures is them below).

After a while I decided to indulge in the $5 cheeseburger before hitting the trail. It wasn’t a mistake, but after hours of idleness, I was ready to hike. The Jolly Lama was waiting for new shoes in town for the next two days, while Duckets and Jake wanted to camp in the resource center lawn. I didn’t want to wait, so decided to hit the trail solo at about 3:30.

I want to take a moment to thank the staff at Warner Springs. You are an amazing bunch, and your hard work is greatly appreciated! Thank you from the bottom of my hiker heart!

I was so eager to move that I ended up pushing 10 miles in 4 hours with no break! That was definitely unnecessary, and probably not wise, but I had an energy I couldn’t contain. Sometimes the hiking beast in me is un-tameable.

The scenery was beautiful and lush. As I rose in elevation, the trees below formed a beautiful green canopy reminiscent of the jungle. I said, “wow,” a lot as I stood admiring the beauty and sipping the lovely filtered water from the resource center. The trail followed streams as it climbed steadily, and soon I decided to make camp in a clearing overlooking the sunset.

We are expecting rain tonight, so I chose a spot with good drainage, and hope it keeps me from washing away. The ground is mostly packed sand, so you never know where water will choose to pool. Wish me luck, readers! Tomorrow I hope to make it 20 miles in order to get into the Paradise Valley Cafe for lunch Wednesday. The Jose burger has a reputation, and I am ready to see for myself.

Goodnight!

Eagle Rock
JL and Tortuga soak their toes
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