Miles 91.5- 109
Total Mileage 17.5
It was still raining when we woke up. We laid in the tent for a while, which is unusual for us, listening for any other hikers to ensure we weren’t the only ones going out in this storm. We knew our day would end in Warner Springs, which promised a warm shelter and REAL FOOD, but it was still pretty difficult to climb out of our warm sleeping bags and step out into near-wintry conditions.
The rain finally let up just enough for us to be able to take our tent down, so we took advantage of that opportunity and set off.
After 3-4 miles of slight uphill, we noticed little white specks collecting on our gloves and jackets. It was snowing!! In May!! In the desert!! We stopped in front of “Billy Goats Cave” for a quick breakfast of granola bars and meat sticks, but it was too cold to take our phones out and get a photo. The cave was pretty creepy- I told Jill it looked like a sarcophagus. We didn’t linger too long either- my hands were having trouble warming up.
After a couple more somewhat miserable miles Jill suggested I put my trekking poles away and put my hands in my pockets. It had flattened out quite a bit by then, so the poles weren’t really necessary anyway. I had her stick them in my pack (my fingers were too numb to even break them down!) and shoved my hands in the pockets of my raincoat. The change was noticeable, and I decided I probably need to buy some warmer gloves.
We finally came upon our first of two big landmarks for the day- the 100 mile marker! It’s actually just a bunch of rocks arranged to say 100, but it felt like a huge milestone and raised both of our spirits significantly.
At this point we realized that we were hiking pretty much on the edge of the storm, because it would be clear and dry (ish) when we were moving, but as soon as we stopped it would start to rain/snow/sleet again. So we decided to just book it into Warner Springs, instead of stopping to eat lunch like we normally would. Probably not a wise decision in hindsight, but we both just wanted to get out of the cold.
The trail led us down out of the mountains into a large open pasture, and we were watching our steps very carefully so as to not step on any cow patties. It was really strange to come out of the mountains into totally different terrain so abruptly, but thats one of the things I love about this trail- you just never really know what to expect!
We also passed a few day hikers, which was a good indication we were getting closer to civilization. It’s interesting to note that we can smell them and their shampoo/soap well before we can see them… I wonder if it’s the same for us? It also meant we were getting close to our second big landmark of the day- Eagle Rock. It’s something we’ve both seen lots of photos of, and we were excited to see it in person. It did not disappoint.