Mile 94.4 to mile 109.5 Warner Springs (15.1 mile, 24 km, 7 hours)
Last night was windy but warm again. I’ve been cowboy camping the last night, basically thrown down a ground sheet and sleeping on it out in the open. It was a great sunset perched up high on a little spur line running off the trail. My spot was shared by several others.
I hit the trail early again, away by 6am with one thing on my mind – reached the 100mile marker.
The trail was easy and made for a fast pace. For the first morning my legs were not stiff and the main muscles are getting accustomed to walking for 10-12 hours a day with a pack on.
Reaching the 100 mile in a couple of hours I stopped for a short break. Continue around a corner there was another 100 mile marker, then another and another. I’m entirely sure where the right marker was but hey on passing the forth I knew I had crossed the line somewhere.
From here it was a long descent down. One of the frustrating (and good things) about this trail is that is follows a real easy grade, so it seems to take the twice the distance and time as what I’m use to at home. At home and in New Zealand we use a lot of ridge lines. Walking the PCT I’m seeing the trail close by on the other side of a gully with a couple of good ridge lines that could connect but the PCT stays true to the contour taking maybe a mile or 2 to get the same spot – something I’ll have to get used to.
At the bottom of the hill Barrel Springs was reached with the first piece of big shade under some old oaks.
From here I struggled a bit. As I’ve said my shoes are too small with my big toes hitting the front of the toe box which is forcing me to change my stride, which has then caused blisters on both heals now. Painful stuff and all I could really do was continue to shuffle towards Warner Springs. I had a tip off that a mobile outfitter was parked at Warner Springs for a couple of weeks. Only one thing on my mind – opportunity for new shoes. And a resupply.
This was a shame as for the first time the scenery started to change, moving into open grassy savanna and the into shady oak forest along a river, but with my mind focused on foot pain management i didn’t really appreciate the change in view and new sights.
In the middle of one grassland was a rocky outcrop, Eagle Rock, so named after the fact that the formation looks like an Eagle with wings spread. I reckon more of a dragon than an Eagle. What do you reckon?
Anyway made it to Warner Springs by 1:00pm, my shortest day to date at 15 miles but well worth it to recharge.
Warner’s Springs is a tiny settlement and the community have adapted their community centre to host hikers during the season. Another awesome effort by volunteers. Here I was able to wash my salt encrusted smelly clothes, have a bucket shower, charge electronics and resupply.
And the outfitter was there. Once scrubbed up to remove the grim I grabbed my self a new pair of shoes and on first fitting they felt great. A much wider foot box so toes can spread, zero drop to promote a more natural gait and a size bigger. Size 11’s! Wow. Never thought I’d be wear 11’s.
Also across the road the local school is having a fun raising so it was hamburgers, fat chips and salad for dinner.
Tomorrow I’m rethinking my strategy and may have to go the route of many others by ditching day hiking and shifting to very early morning and night hiking to avoid the heat.
Another long one, sorry about that.
There is only one way to drain a blister – thread it with a needle and leave the thread in overnight.