Today was an unexpectedly lazy day for me, starting with the short half-mile walk to the Warner Springs Community Center, which seems a quite popular destination for hikers. Most of the hikers I’ve met in the last week have wound up here today.
The first order of business was getting more suntan lotion; a larger tube that should easily last me to Idyllwild. After that was a surprisingly nice bucket shower (a bucket of water and a pitcher to pour it with). I rinsed the salt off my hiking shirt, and if I had realized I’d be sticking around all day, I’d have rinsed off my socks as well.
After relaxing inside for a bit (with a nice saltwater bath foot massager), Meghan, Patch, and I went to the nearby golf resort to get lunch at their restaurant, eventually joined by quite a few other hikers. Meghan hurt her foot earlier in the day — pushing it too hard, she thought — and had to get a ride to Warner Springs; she’s planning to stay at the hotel here tonight, and possibly tomorrow, depending on how her foot feels.
While waiting at the restaurant, I went over to the post office and picked up my food drop. Thanks to a combination of too much food in the Mount Laguna drop, and eating a little less than I had planned, I now have seven days of food for the hike to Idyllwild that should only take five days, so I’m going to have quite a heavy pack leaving here tomorrow.
When I got back to the restaurant, I ran into an old friend from the AT: Mountain Goat, a nurse from Australia. This time, she brought two friends with her.
While at the restaurant, the hour growing later, I pretty much decided not to push on further today. With essentially no clouds in the sky, I wanted to give my skin as much of a break as possible before going out for another full day of hiking. I got back to the community center around 3:45, and set up my tent.
Sort of like the gear annex shop in Hiawassee on the Appalachian Trail, there’s an Airstream trailer in the parking lot here with a limited, but still reasonably well-stocked, assortment of hiking gear. I picked up a lightweight, white long-sleeve shirt that I’m hoping will serve me well in the desert ahead.
The rest of the evening, after repackaging my food from the box it arrived in, I alternated between chatting with different groups of hikers and cooking and eating my dinner. Somehow, I managed to mess up my macaroni and cheese by putting in way too much water.
All in all, a really low-key day. I wound up walking further between the community center and the restaurant and post office than I actually did on the trail. Tomorrow, though, should hopefully be an early start and a long day.