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Begins: Apr 28, 2013
Date: Sat, May 4th, 2013
Start: Warner Springs
End: ~mi. 122
Daily Distance: 12.5
Trip Distance: 120.0
Entry Visits: 309
Journal Visits: 3,418
Guestbook Views: 178
Guestbook Entrys: 11
Pacific Crest Trail Map
This morning I had a couple bars for breakfast while I packed up, then I went next door to the Warner Springs Community Center to see what services they had going on there. I went inside to ask if there were any rides going out to the Post Office (about a mile away), and lo and behold, there was a ride leaving in a few minutes that I happily invited myself to join. I quickly found out that Warner Springs Monty (an ultra light enthusiast well known in the PCT community) was giving me a ride. He packed a couple in the front seat of his truck and about six of us in the covered bed of his truck and we were on our way. I hesitated getting in, but I didn't want to walk two miles on a hurt foot, and we were only going a mile so I calculated that it would be fine. It turns out that it wasn't. I had a small anxiety attack on the way and was luckily the last to get in and the first to get out. The situation was a little to similar for comfort to the one where I broke my neck. I calmed myself down, got my package, dug through the hiker box, and chatted with a few hikers. When we were ready to go, the packages took up the space of one person, so I quickly volunteered to try and hitch back. There was no way I was getting back in the truck anyways. The small shoulder meant no hitchhiking, so I ended up walking back to the community center. I spent that time confronting these emotions and a reaction that I thought would had passed by now, and realized that it unknowingly still occupied a serious part of subconsciousness.
When I got back to the Community Center, I idled around and sorted out my first food box sent from home. I didn't want to spend any money there, but I ended up giving a well deserved donation to the Community Center and bought a hamburger. In years past, hikers flocked to the Warner Springs Ranch resort to fulfill their resupply needs and to rest. With a downturn in the economy and the tourism in the area it closed, taking the gas station and general store with it. This year, we seemingly had no options until the school district stepped up to support the hikers and, as a result, generate some income. They got the kids involved, building business plans and figuring out prices, and volunteers to do the grunt work of cooking, laundry, cashiering. The work that these friendly people did to accommodate the herd of hikers moving through was amazing.
There is something about the thru-hiking culture that people really gravitate towards, which I haven't quite figured out yet. It's most likely due to the attitude and character of thru-hikers, and the adventure that they undertake. It seems that in general, hikers are happy, fun, lively, good-natured, optimistic people, which are all attributes that would draw others in. Many people who help out hikers say that they are just amazed at the undertaking and want to be supportive in any way possible. I assumed from the beginning that there would be a portion of people labeling us as something akin to tree hugging bums, but I haven't experienced that yet. I guess it's hard to berate a group of technically (and mostly temporarily) homeless people that provide a surprisingly large stimulus to the economies they navigate through. Hikers eat a lot food.
I met a fellow Chicoan that day, Bill, who was out thru-hiking by himself. It was nice to hear about what he had going on in his life, and to discuss a common place we both hold dear to our hearts. Kim, a woman who lives in the area and was helping out at the community center, opened her house to Bill and I. She offered to pick us up off the trail and provide showers, food, water, and laundry. She gave us her and her husband's phone number and just said to call whenever. I was once again just astounded by such unexpected hospitality. I never took her up on her offer and unfortunately lost her number, but if she happens to read my blog, she will know that I am extremely grateful!
I left around 3:30, as the temperature could only go down from that point, and headed out without any trail side destination in mind. I saw Jamie, who I met on the first day and got the trail name "Positive", and her husband Frazier. I hiked with them for a bit and got to know them better, and ended up leap frogging with them for the rest of the day. I hiked next to Agua Caliente Creek for a good while, which to my delight, fostered an adequate environment for white sage and mugwort. I picked the herbs along the way and stuffed them in my pockets. I was ridiculously proud/excited to have found these herbs, which I rubbed in my pits and put in my pillow for the night. I hiked until after dark and found a little space right off the trail that was the perfect size for a cowboy camp. There was a certain convenience to stopping, setting up for the night, and falling asleep right off the trail.
Highlight: Finding wonderful scents that found their way into my dreams.