Day 10: Up into a cloud

15.4 miles (109.5 to 124.9), including 3,300 ft of elevation gain

Nearly 40 tents and their occupants spend the night at Warner Springs Community Center. Surprisingly, everyone is in bed, or at least quiet, by 9:30pm. “Hiker midnight” is real! 

In the morning, dark clouds once again cover the sky. It’s cold, too, though not as windy as past nights. We set out just before 7am with a light mist on our faces. After a few miles, the trail takes us parallel to Agua Caliente Creek. It’s a delight to hear running water! We pass many lovely campsites where we could have spent last night had we opted to press on. At the last creek crossing, we fill up with cold, clear water. 

Today we climb into the clouds. Higher and higher we climb, and the clouds wispy bottoms get closer and closer. We catch views of the valley below. Finally we’re within the clouds, inside their dense fog, and we joke that we’re hiking near San Francisco. 

My uncle’s hat is mysteriously changing shape. It’s beginning to form a point at the top. Dad comments that he looks like Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz – and just like that, Pete (formerly Frogger) has a new trail name. 

Around mile 118 we suddenly come upon Sally and Loring, siblings offering trail magic after dropping off two thru-hiking relatives. This is our first trail magic! I happily accept a fresh tangerine. Jukebox (Dad) and Scarecrow (uncle Pete) take muffins. More hikers arrive. Sally comments that providing trail magic is like Halloween: you’re waiting for trick-or-treaters to show up. I love this analogy. We chat for awhile and exchange names and take pictures, and then we resume our climb. 

We speed up the trail and complete 10 miles before lunch. After lunch, we’re still peppy, but the relentless elevation gain, though gradual, is taking a toll. 

Around mile 13 my foot starts acting up. I switch insoles and walk another two or so miles before my arch starts hurting again. 

Well, shoot. We’d intended to get to the water tank at Mike’s Place tonight, but instead we throw down our things at a dry campsite just beyond a spectacular red boulder field. 

Between us, we have enough water to get through the night, though our supply less than ideal. Luckily we’ll reach water early tomorrow morning. Until then, we’ll enjoy another night of clouds and cold, fast wind.

Apologies, readers: after installing an updated version of the WordPress app, I haven’t been able to add captions to photos. Photos will be captionless until I and/or WordPress get the issue cleared up. 

*More photos on Instagram @eowynhikes*


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