March 31 (~19:20 – ~20:10)
Warner Springs – Agua Caliente Creek (3.3 mi / Total: 112.5 mi)
Weather: Hot during the day, overcast (and dark) when I begin to walk.
Warner Springs! My first real resupply town. Speedy and I wake up in the forest right next to the tiny village and walk over to the community center, pretty much across the road from where we were. The place has been opened to tourists and hikers as a resupply site, and it’s got everything we need. There’s a place to camp, WiFi, a small shop, some freshly made food and washrooms.
The campsite is busy, many hikers seem to enjoy a day off here, but we have our priorities: we need to wash. Ourselves and our clothes. We walk into the main building and everything is explained to us. There’s a sink with hot water around the back and cubicles for bucket showers. We first delve into a small room with loaners clothes and pick out something to wear while we wait for our clothes to dry: then we go around the back and start filling buckets with hot water, and disappear into our own cubicle. It’s heaven. Washing myself thoroughly after a week of walking through the desert, feels like everything I’ve ever dreamt of. After that we wash our clothes in the same buckets, and leave them to dry. It’s ten in the morning and we’ve got the most pressing things done.
I still have a lot of things to do. Without a SIM card, I rely on WiFi to post these blogs, and I want to start putting the first ones up today. It’s a lot of work. I’ve been writing the posts in the evenings but they need some editing, and selecting and transferring pictures from my camera to my phone is time consuming. We also need to eat. We get breakfast burritos onsite, but they only taste good because we are so hungry, and they don’t appear to have enough nutritional value to make us feel satisfied. We get our resupply from the shop and I find some oatmeal left over in the hiker box. Then we walk across to ‘town’ to get more snacks at the gas station and visit the one restaurant. We order pizzas and I get most of mine to go.
When we are back at the community center I begin to upload blogs. It gets later and later in the afternoon, and Speedy heads off. She’s planning on walking to the first campsite, only about three miles ahead. I stay behind, working, until it’s seven in the evening. I have an hour until it gets dark, so it’s time to go.
Not long after I head into the first farmland section, daylight quickly fades. I wasn’t expecting this. I take out my headlamp and turn it on. It’s difficult to see with a headlamp – it illuminates everything from your forehead so there are hardly any shadows. I can’t see how bumpy the path is. As it gets darker, my mind begins to play tricks on me. Suddenly I’m scared of all those things I decided I can’t worry about during the day – mountain lions, hunters, murderers. I keep looking around me for shapes and people, but I see nothing. There are toads on the path and birds in trees screeching when I pass, but that’s it.
The hour it takes to get to the first campsite feels like a lot longer and I feel disheartened when Speedy isn’t there. It’s a big space in a barren forest, with an OLD hut in the middle. It’s creepy. I put down my backpack and look around me for a place to camp. Then a light appears in the distance, and as I come closer to investigate, I find out it’s Speedy. We’re both happy we’re not alone – even Speedy is freaked out by this forest and the empty hut, despite arriving when it was still light. I get my pack and set up closer to her, and eat the last leftover pizza. I’m ready for the next few days.