Day: Thursday, May 19th
Miles 109.5 – 119.6
Warner Springs, CA – Remote Camp 119.6
There is a simple and wonderous sensation from the simple act of throwing a bucket of lukewarm soapy water over your head. If that doesn’t appeal to you, the reader, I would invite you to walk 109.5 miles in the searing desert with no shower for 7 days and let’s revisit the question afters.
This morning was shower day at Warner Springs Community Center. A group of maybe 15 hikers awoke this morning to the idea of soap, water, Epsom salts, resupply packages and maybe even a sneaky device-recharge. Our needs by now are simple. We wake, we eat, we walk, we eat, we sleep. The idea of something different was really quite marvelous, so much so that a line of guys excitedly hanging onto their buckets waiting for their moment at the hot faucet was reminiscent of a Victorian boys boarding school. There was one or two ladies in the mix, funnily however it seemed that the men were more disturbed by the body-gunk – maybe because they wanted to impress the girls.
Warner Springs itself does not have much, a gated community, golf course, post office and this community center, but it opens its arms wide for the thru-hiking community and after a personal cleanup (with a bucket) and clothes washing escapade (again with a bucket), 8 of us piled into a minivan (with somewhat lower capacity) for a trip to the post office.
I decided to bounce a resupply package – I had 2 days of food assembled and decided to bounce the package to Big Bear City, CA where I believe I’ll actually need it (another great free service from the USPS).
Later in the day, with my washing drying on the fence, I completed a gear shakedown – where I figure out what’s not useful and send it home. I relieved my bag of 4lb of weight which I was very excited about.
Afterwards I dropped into the golf club grill (advertised in the community center) for lunch. A large sign on the door reminded me that I’m no longer a normal human “PCT THRU HIKERS MUST EAT ON THE PORCH”. I surmised that whilst our money is as good as anyone else’s, our dress attire and personal hygiene levels at this juncture in our lives likely isn’t, and enjoyed a large turkey club, green salad, fries and 3 large cokes on the aforementioned porch. I did venture to use the restroom and can comment that they were uncomfortably clean.
I could have stayed all day in Warner Springs and taken a zero-miles day however the call of the trail is strong, and the cool evening reminded me that I have to get to Canada by October and that won’t happen by hanging out at the golf club. At 6:30 I headed out into a beautiful evening, once again walking through a beautiful stand of oaks along a creek.
The trail ascended rapidly as the bright moon ascerted itself in the clear and crisp night sky. It was a beautiful night and as the trail met the flow of a creek for a few miles, the serenade of frogs croaking made for a happy tune to my evening stride.
I walked through to 10:30pm. My first night walk, occasionally bumping into friends stopping at points to camp, along with hop-scotching Speedy Gonzalez, my current pace setter in the same mileage groove as me.
I eventually decided it was time to call time when I came to the final water source before a long gap, and laid out my cowboy camp setup with about 3 other tents close-by. It had been a nice relaxing day. Variation was welcome, and a good nights sleep assured.