Day 5: The Storm

Mile reached: 86.6 (+9.5)

High: Spending a lazy day with friends

Low: Discovering that I had not in fact escaped the wind

Thru-hikers squeezed into 2 motel rooms: 9

Hitchhikers JD picked up: 2

The next section of the trail is a little bit tough logistically. Due to historical easement problems the PCT leaves the crest and traverses a desert range north to Warner Springs. Since these mountains are fully in the desert, there is no reliable water for 33 miles. As it would happen there are reports of dead mice in the cistern at the first water source, so to get dead mice free water it’s now an additional 4 miles for a total of 37. To add to this challenge the temps were in the 90s the previous week, and of course all climbs are south facing.

The plan was to take a lazy day to let me recuperate and avoid much of the weather. But, I also wanted to take advantage of the cooler temperatures due to the storm. So, in the late afternoon, I would go back to the trail and knock off a few miles.

While I planned logistics and figured out where I would get food for the next 100 miles, JD and Tom made breakfast. I went through a backlog of emails, washed clothes, etc. Eventually, we went off to get lunch when we drove past some hiker trash looking for a ride. I knew one of them, he saw me, and I said we needed to pick them up. So, JD turned around and drove back to take them to their hotel, which was conveniently across the street from where we were going for lunch. I learned that most of the people I was hiking with were going to wait an extra day for the storm to pass.

JD and Tom made breakfast though not without starting a grease fire!
Julian is a cute one street town built around a mine and some orchards.

The afternoon came and went, and JD kindly drove me back down the mountain. Though he was amused with the idea of dropping me off in the wrong the spot. We exchanged goodbyes since we likely won’t see each other again until at least Sonora Pass.

I spent the last few hours of daylight trying to crush some miles. Resupply sucks. Water carries suck. My pack was probably 30+ pounds making for much slower going. The wind was also out in force, and I got to race the rainstorm as it moved across the valley. Fortunately, I made it to my desired camp just as it started to rain. Warner Springs was just now within a days reach.

All of the Ocotillo was in bloom, a treat for visiting the desert this time of year
One of the last views if Granite Peak. The storm is moving in around it.

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