Warner Springs to Trail Camp
Mile 109.5 – Mile 127.7
Today marks the 50th birthday of my great, longtime friend, Brad Miller. He and I go all the way back to 10th grade when there might have been some over the shoulder collaboration happening in Mr. Hershey’s history class. I won’t say who was who but the bond formed has lasted a lifetime. As long as I can remember, Brad and I have met up most Tuesdays at the gym to workout. We frequently set the stair machine or treadmill to play back a video of some far flung place while we exercise. We have virtually hiked the orange canyons of Utah, the high trails in Yosemite, and the dense forests of Germany. We know every turn by now so in honor of Brad’s birthday, today I took some actual video:
Leaving Warner Springs this morning marked the official end of California Section A of the PCT and the beginning of Section B. The trail is broken down into 29 sections and distance hikers fall into one of two categories. The foolhardy thru hikers like me attempt the trail in order at one go either northbound or southbound. Section hikers link their PCT together section by section over time until they have completed the whole trail. It may take many years but the intrepid section hikers are out there doing it. I heard one the other day say he can only manage about 3-5 miles per day. Now that’s dedication!
For me, Section B started with a swing by the local post office to collect my second resupply box. With that done, I set out around 8:30 and climbed my way back into the hills north of Warner Springs. Water was more available today and as an added bonus, the weather cooperated with cool overcast until mid afternoon reducing my need.
Everyone seems to have a different way of purifying their water but here’s what I do. I cut the mouth valve off an old 3 liter Platypus bag and installed an inline filter called a Sawyer Mini. Using the other end of another cut tube I have a screw-on fitting for any regular water bottle. I gather water in the 3 liter bag and gravity does the rest. Works like a charm.
Without the concern for water, I was able to look up more today. I was rewarded with some spectacular views as the trail meandered through a pink colored rock garden where enormous boulders hung precariously in unlikely poses. The wind kicked up late in the day just as I had pulled of to camp. I eventually won the wresting match to get my tent pitched, spicy ramen cooked, and toes tended.
I think my feet are starting to get the message. As someone wise (Dave Thompson) once said, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”