Pct mile 94.5 to 109.5, 15 miles 4/17/17
Last night we camped on a semi -windy 4300ft ridge overlooking the San Felipe Valley. We were joined by three other hikers one of whom, a recent college graduate from Indiana (I will call him Indy Mike), had started the same day as us. Another start date sibling! There are a lot of interesting people the first 20 miles of the trail, and Mike had met one that out-stranged anyone we had seen. A young man with a empty gallon jug and a machete had asked him for some water near mile ten. This person told Mike that he was using the machete to kill snakes, which he would use as sustinance. Interesting strategy. I brought snickers bars, but to each his own I suppose. We broke camp around 7am and headed for Warner Springs. We slowly descended, winding from ridge to ridge. Along the way we passed 100 miles. This was demarked with a few small rocks spelling out the mileage. South facing slopes were full of cacti and yucca, while north facing ones were brushy. Walking down to 3000 ft, the San Jose Valley was full of red wild wheat and flowers. When we climbed out of the valley the environment totally changed. The hills were filled with green grass and giant oaks. A few miles later we passed by eagle rock, an amazing natural rock structure that looks like it was sculpted to resemble the eagle on the back of a quarter. While walking through an oak grove a 2 miles later. I heard a loud crack. I looked up to see that a large limb had broken off of an old 40ft oak 30 ft directly above us on the trail. Sarah and I began sprinting. After five seconds Sarah stopped running in the middle of the trail while I was still at a dead sprint with a 25 pound pack. (I would later be informed that Sarah had accessed the situation and realized the limb was not falling in our direction and had stopped at just the right moment, as I should have). To avoid running headlong into her, I attempted to leap around her like a runner trying to avoid a tag at home plate. My ankle twisted as well as my knee and I nearly toppled off the trail. Thankfully, I was only hurt a little, not injured. Even the oak oasis is out to get you in the desert. Soon after we arrived at town. Norm greeted us with June Bug and walked back to the RV for our last night of motor home camping. As I lay on the floor of the motor home, June Bug rolled in me like a dog might on a dead carcass or cowpie. She was in a hunting mood and wanted to cover her scent with something disgusting. Every once in a while I catch a whiff of myself and it really is unpleasant. It’s like an onion pissed itself. I hope I go noseblind soon. Warner Springs is a very small town with little accommodations. There is, however, a small resource center near the trail and, presently, a mobile gear store in a converted Airstream trailer. I am really going to try to soak up sleeping on a fold out sofabed, as this is a luxury I will rarely enjoy the next few months.