We got into Warner Springs after having stopped at Eagle Rock (a rock that looks like an eagle). On the way to town we also came across 50 cows that were blocking the path. Joal took charge after waiting 15 minutes and rounded them up and moved them down the trail. Unfortunately they moved straight into where some other hikers had set up camp. Dawn, the lady who helped Joal get new trainers, has a great photo compilation on Instagram here: https://instagram.com/p/BiQooY8FaQm/. Anyway, that’s how he earned his trail name “Rancher”.
Warner Springs was a great spot where the village resource centre let us sleep inside and have foot baths and WiFi and bucket laundry. It took about 4 buckets before the water stopped turning brown from our clothes. At this point Dawn also left us to go home.
We left Warner Springs at noon the next day. We headed uphill into the mountains with the news that there is currently snow at Idyllwyld. We’ve only got our warm weather gear so are a little apprehensive going into the mountains.
Whilst the trail was uphill, the water carries are getting better as we have understood how many litres we need per mile, and it is colder so we need to carry less. When we go into the mountains the longest carry at the moment is about 10 miles (so 2 litres). We spent the afternoon walking uphill with “Snack pack” (Page) and playing “guess the song”, a game which involves someone singing whilst the others guess. Finally we set up camp for the night at the top of a hill with about 6 others where we were lulled to sleep with K-pop.
After a cold start the day brightened up. We set off after the main pack but by lunch time had caught up. It seems we have found the same group of people going the same distances we are. There are lots of couples we are now walking with and we kept leap frogging each other down the mountain all day. Today was also the first day where the stars were super bright. Joal lay for an hour under the stars as people settled in for the night. Pictures can’t do some of the experiences justice.
After a lot of oatmeal we set out with a French lady called Escargo (Charlotte). At lunch we stopped at a water cache which was created by a lady called Mary. Her land goes up to the boundary of the PCT so she sets out a library, water and some inspirational quotes.
By 2pm we had made it to a road from which we could hitch to Paradise Cafe, a lunch spot known for bikers and car meet ups. In order to get there we had to hitch which was the first time we were doing this without help. After about 20 minutes a lovely Canadian lady picked us up. We had a burger called “the motherload” which was massive, but it is obvious our appetites are getting used to the calories we are burning.
At lunch we made it into Idyllwild. From Paradise Cafe the trail has some fire closures and there are alternative routes that end up going very steeply up and down and some road walking. As Jenny still has runners knee we opted instead on getting a hitch to Idyllwild. Here we met the major of the town, Max! Idyllwild doesn’t have a human major but has instead opted to elect a dog!
After some petting and love we left the dogs to set up camp in the local campsite. Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo so we expect town to get very busy as we rest for the day.