Day 8 – 4/21
Mile mark 109.5-119.6
Two years ago there use be a resort in Warner Springs that had good rates for hikers and a pool. Unfortunately, the resort along with a store and gas station closed. There’s not much that remains here. Luckily for hikers, the community opened a hiker resupply station in the community center. The station has some basic supplies, showers, laundry, breakfast and lunch.
I’m sitting in the community center now, devouring my second burger. The burger probably wouldn’t fair well against a restaurant, but it tastes like the best burger I’ve ever had. I never really have been that motivated by food, but yesterday I did the last two miles to get to Warner Springs in under 25 minutes before the kitchen closed for my first burger.
As I continue to eat, I see many new faces strolling in. Many look lost and like they’re nearly about to fall over. I start to wonder if I looked the same yesterday, when a newcomer sits across from me. He looks like he’s a pretty well built guy and could easily make mince meat out of me. However, today I could probably knock him over if I poked him. His feet have been killing him and I barely get a few sentences out of him before he retreats to stare at the table.
I’ve learned from some previous pct’ers that the last section weeds many people out and I can completely understand why. Walking through a mountainous desert in the heat where there recently was a fire can really grind you down. When I finally made it into some of the desert meadows with grass yesterday, I was nearly skipping down the trail with joy to be out of the wasteland.
When I finish my burger, I head back outside and lay under one of the huge oak trees and wait for the temperature to cool before I head out again. Around four I start walking clean, refreshed, and happy to be moving. Not too far down the trail, I come upon my first “trail magic.” Someone has left a cooler and I can only guess what’s inside as I nearly run to it. The cooler is full of mandarin oranges. I take one and each slice is amazing.