Pacific Crest Trail- Day 9

Mojave Trading Co.

Well, I’ve skipped a day of journaling but it was because I was having so much fun!

I got into Warner Springs yesterday and boy was it nice! My step mom, Dawn, and little brother Trevor came to visit me and brought me an In-n-Out burger. Never has a cold burger been so delicious.

Trevor and I played on the play ground behind the Community Resource Center and then went inside to get a root beer float. Dawn got to see a bit of how things work on the trail and how the community comes together to help each other out. It was very nice to be able to share some of my experience with them, and even better to hear my brother tell me that he wants to come hiking with me.

My little brother Trevor and I hanging out on the premises of the Warner Springs Community Center. He had a fun time playing on the playground. When him and my step mom left he cried and told her that he wanted to come hiking with me.

After they left I helped myself to a bucket shower on the back porch. They had built shower stands in the back of the building for hikers to shower. Since their septic tank wasn’t big enough to accommodate real showers we instead had to fill home Depot buckets with warm water and use a pitcher to wash off with. It was one of the most refreshing showers of my life.

They also had bits of laundry detergent for $1 and I washed all of my clothes which turned the water black. It amazed me even though it shouldn’t have. Dust and dirt sticks to everything and after days of wearing the same clothes you can only expect them to be filthy.

When all was said and done I was finally able to relax. I had met a pretty cool group of hikers that I vibed really well with and we stayed up past “hiker midnight” talking and joking around. It was the first night I stayed awake talking to other hikers. Usually, I sat alone in my tent journaling or traversing my own thoughts. It felt good to be among people more like myself.

Photo of Union Jack having his first ever Rootbeer Float.

All night I tossed and turned having nightmares. I thought since I was in town camped among a bunch of other hikers that I would sleep well but it was probably my worst nights sleep so far. I slept in until 7am and then crawled out my tent to the nearby picnic bench and started brewing a cup of coffee.

The group I had been hanging out with the night before reoccupied the picnic table and we all decided, after our morning coffee, to head down to the country club for some breakfast. It was a .75 mile pasture walk from behind the community center to the golf course. It seemed like a walk around the block.

We got in, took a look over the menu and all decided to get the chicken fried steak. All four of us ordered the exact same thing and upon arrival we all inhaled it in under 10 minutes. I amazed myself by taking down the fried steak, eggs, hash browns, and 3 pieces of toast all in under 15 minutes. I think I’m finally starting to get my hiker hunger.

I dropped by the post office to pick up my resupply package and found a letter from home taped to the top of the box. It felt good to hear from people back home, even if I did just get to see Dawn and Trevor.

We walked back to the community center, hobbling with our full belly’s. There were horses in the pasture next to us and Portable G kept feeding them grass to get them to say hi. It was pretty hilarious had you been there.

When I arrived back at camp behind the community center I felt very comfortable and full. My eyes were heavy. The last thing I wanted to do was think about packing up and hiking on further up the trail before camping again. Thoughts of taking a zero clouded my mind but instead of giving in I forced myself to pack up all of my things.

I sorted my food and bought a few snacks and goodies at the resupply shop and headed back to my back to sort my final food items. Raven and Lux had decided to 0 it and stay another night and Union Jack was heading on with GPS. I decided I would head out with them and hike a few miles to the first camp.

They walked a bit slower than I usually do, but being so full of town food and low on energy it felt like the right pace to go. We chatted about life ambitions, our life at home and our life on the trail. It’s fun getting to know so many people and having such vast conversations between each one.

Union Jack on the left and GPS on the right as we set out from Warner Springs. It was our first night together and we were just getting to know each other.

The trail started to rise steadily, heading towards big green hills. They weren’t quite mountains but they were tall. The sun was still hot even though the temperature had gone down.

After 6 miles we came to the next water source and found the perfect spot for 3 tents. Union Jack and GPS set up on one side of the trail and I started setting up on the other. It was a bit of uneven ground but I don’t mind having my feet a little below me.

Another man joined us and we all began to set up our tents having good conversation. Another solo female hiker passed by and came back a few minutes later asking about cat paw prints. She found quite a big one and was a bit concerned. We told her it wasn’t anything to worry about and if she wanted she could camp near us.

The funny part is that as I write this there is something pacing back and forth behind Union Jack and GPS’s tent. I tried to ignore it for the first few minutes but it continued to happen. Finally, Union Jack spoke up and asked if anyone else heard the noises behind us. We all started giggling and agreed in hearing it.

Every time we start talking it stops but as we get quiet and try to get back to bed it continues to move around behind our camp. This is the first time that I have experienced anything of the sort and it’s really quite understandable. We are camped near a water source and if water is scarce for us it must be scarce for the animals too.

It’s quite an eerie feeling and one that leaves you a bit on edge. Tonight I’m very grateful to be camping with 3 others. Usually I wouldn’t mind camping alone but in the case of the mysterious animal…there’s safety in numbers. GPS has a strong military background that makes me feel a bit safer.

Even still, every time the animal picks up it’s noisy footsteps we nervously laugh…

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