Farewell to the Master Trailsman
Beginning Elevation = 3,000
Ending Elevation = 3,400
Weather: Absolutely Gorgeous
I’m beginning to understand that tenting in large groups has its downsides. Even though folks try to sneak away quietly in the morning, there’s really no secret technique that suppresses the sound a tent zipper makes. It really wasn’t too bad; both dad and I woke up around 5:15 and kinda stayed cocooned in our sleeping bags until around 6:15. I stayed in my tent a little longer too perusing on my phone.
Around 7:00, we decided we’d walk the mile to the Warner Springs Golf Grill for breakfast. We got there just a couple minutes before 7:30, which is when it opened and were the first ones in the restaurant. About 5 or 6 other hikers wandered in later. The food was superb. I feel going forward that it’ll be good for my soul to eat real food at least one meal when in town.
I had heard the news about Notre Dame Cathedral using an app on my phone, but it was very sad to see the footage of the fire when in the restaurant.
After breakfast, we walked back to our tents. We said hey to some horses that were hanging out along the way…
Once back, we began packing up our gear while also drying out our tents from the rain yesterday. The sun was shining bright this morning. We also thought through what items I was needing to take from dad’s pack and what I wanted to give him to take home. I switched out my pillow and knife for his, and also took the first aid kit and tent ground over (a sheet of tyvek) that he’d been carrying.
I purchased some micro-spikes from 2 Foot Adventures (the chrome trailer gear store). These are similar to crampons, both are used to help gain traction and stability on ice, but the micro-spikes have smaller “teeth” on them and are pretty good at attaching to trail runner shoes like mine. I’ll post pics when I put them on, for now they’ll go at the bottom of my pack.
We had things pretty well wrapped up around 10:00 and moved to a tent area with picnic tables underneath. Not too much later, Jack and Jim Nydam (who had taken us fishing in San Diego) arrived to pick up Dave H. It was great to see them! They were excited and interested in seeing this strange hiker community in person. We toured around the Warner Springs Community Center with them and chatted for a good while. They also brought snacks and what’s becoming a favorite of mine, fresh squeezed orange juice!
While sipping on our OJ, I assembled my food resupply for the next stretch. I had packaged this resupply back home, taken with on the plane, given to Jack when in San Diego, and now it has returned to me in Warner Springs 😊. I had also shipped a rain pack cover and a new battery pack to Jack as well. The battery felt like a brick and I felt like Tim “The Toolman” Taylor upgrading to the Binford 5,000, it’s actually an Anker 20,000 I believe. More Power!
Lastly, we did a weigh of my pack. My base weight (without food, water, or stove fuel) was 21 pounds and with those items included was 35 pounds (2 liters water).
Around 1:00ish we said some heart felt goodbyes and had a parting of the ways. Thanks so very much once again to the Nydam families, greatest of all trail angels!
It was a great experience getting to do this trip with my father. We never did get him a trail name, but for me, I think I’m sticking with calling him Master Trailsman. It truly was great to have a comrade to start off with. We learned a lot together about this backpacking thing and really got in the groove. Now, I shall take the lessons learned and go forth to conquer the rest of the trail!
One of the nights, he shared a favorite verse of his with me, Isaiah 40:31
“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Now, I don’t know where I’m at myself these days with my beliefs and such, but I do take comfort in being surrounded by so many folks who are looking out for me! I thought this verse was very fitting. I stayed in Warner Springs for another hour and a half, waiting to charge my new battery. Met some new folks (2 Michigander brothers from small town south of Kzoo – Mendon?) and saw some familiar faces show up to town.At 2:30ish, after explaining to some day hikers what was going on with all those tents set up, I was hiking again. The scenery was great right away, another flowery meadow…I reached Agua Caliente Creek, which the trail followed off and on the rest of the day. First, it was flat and open, some kind of floodplain with the huge live oak trees…Then, it went into chaparel (not sure if that’s a specific plant or a more general term like forest of meadow), which isn’t pretty, but is the majority of what we’ve seen out here. When it’s not crazy cactuses and Meadows and such, this is what we’d been seeing…The trail went up a ways and got into these trees, which we’d seen before, but not so many all in one place or so big. I dubbed them shaggy bark trees today.Saw these guys…Stopped hiking around 5:45 and made camp at the last spot before the trail leaves the creek. Filtered some water, cooled my feet off in the creek, and then had dinner!My fellow Michiganders showed up and ended up “cowboy” camping (without a tent) closer down by the creek. Then, after I was in my tent already, two others guys showed up. They ended up making camp right next to me and cooked their dinner in the dark while I wrote this post. A successful first solo trek!