April 26, 2016: Packed up my tent soaking wet, and headed into the Warner Springs center for the hot coffee and to eat my hiker breakfast (no golf course bk for me this morning). Another hiker there told me the story of Sierra – the coyote/dog mix that hung around the center. Apparently, Sierra’s owner had left her on the trail and she had waited for him or her to come back to no avail. Another hiker brought her into the center where she was quickly adopted by one of the volunteers, and has since been brought back everyday of the hiker season to bring a little joy to our lives. Sierra loves all of the hikers and happily greeted me this morning. (She also has a way of letting the rabbits loafing around the center know who’s boss!) I cannot imagine simply leaving such a sweet and loyal dog behind on a trail. Another reason to donate to the Humane Society (see my page connecting to Crowdrise!)
After getting my morning Sierra loving in, it was time to bid goodbye to Warner Springs and hit the trail. The trail was gorgeous to begin, traveling through lush fields and over streams through Canada Verde, but then made its way back into high, barren desert mountains. Pine and I stopped for lunch at the first water stop and so I could spread out my tent on the bushes to dry from the night before. We continued the climb in the sun, and my left foot started to bother me something fierce. The top was tender to the touch. I wrapped it during another break, which took some of the pressure off, but it continued to ache.
We leapfrogged Norbert (a German hiker), Serenity, and Powder for most of the day. We made the sign to a water tank around evening. By then, I was grumpy and tired and my foot was swollen. We made our way down the road to the tank and saw a house and an RV with coolers around it, with signs saying hikers welcome. But we saw no people!
We sat around the water tank until my foot felt somewhat better, and then made our way down the steps to the property to explore. Around what appeared to be a shed, we found A LOT of people – mostly hikers, many of whom we met before, Serenity and Woodchuck, Nobody and his wife, and our hosts Josh and Tom cooking pizzas made to order in an outdoor wood burning oven! This was “Mike’s Place” and Josh and Tom treated hikers to the best all season long. Tom’s old dog Kubota was a little on the shy side.
One house, in the middle of nowhere, providing much needed water, music, beer, soda, and food – oh, and a place to camp after a really good party.
I tucked into my tent with a full belly, listening to Guns N Roses, and then, a bit incongruously, Frank Sinatra’s hits. It was a surreal night under the stars.
Elevation gain/loss: 3967/-1934ft