Eagle Rock and Warner Springs, or, How to not Get Vortexed

May 11, 2017
Barrel Springs to Warner Springs
Warner Springs to Mile 111.9
Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike: Day 7

It's Mother's day in three days, May 14th. I can't forget. I need to think of something to do that my mom will really know I did just for her. Then, it's Ben's birthday two days after that. I hate missing it.

Today I woke up at 3:50 am and listened to music, which was different and great. I woke up so early in order to bandage my slowly healing feet with its blisters and newly trephinated toenails. It takes me about an hour to clean, Neosporin, bandage, and securely tape each blister; I wake up this early so I can get hiking at the same time as everyone else. It's a remarkable thing to be able to hike 20+ mile days and still have your blisters/feet heal just by taking the time to care for them. I am putting in the same miles as my trail friends, with feet that look like they've been through war. The most remarkable thing is, once they're bandaged up, if I've taken the time to thread my blisters and let them drain, there is minimal pain for the first few miles and then no pain once my feet have warmed up. Moral of the story: hikers who quit because of blisters must simply not know how to take care of their feet. I do have to start moving very early in the morning, but to be able to keep the same mileage after I get going is quite surprising. I didn't expect to be able to make more than 20 miles a day with perfectly healthy feet, much less feet covered in blisters.

The only stop on the way to Warner Springs was the famed Eagle Rock. It's a rock that holds the likeness of an eagle. I mean, this thing really looks like an eagle. The trail to Eagle Rock was covered in beautiful, mystical fog and golden grass. I loved it. Once in Warner Springs, the fog turned to dead heat, and we trudged to the post office for our resupply package. I gave the clerk my ID, picked up our three packages (too many!) and we headed over to the Warner Springs community center for the rest of the day.

One of the community center highlights was a remodeled airstream trailer with a hiking gear store inside of it. The outfitters had all of the thru-hikers' favorites: darn tough socks, Leukotape (a blister-fighters #1 weapon), Kahtoola crampons, and Altra sneakers. After exploring the Airstream trailer (traveling outfitters called 2 Foot Adventures), I took a bucket shower and washed my clothes in the same bucket. I was delighted to find that Mette and Michael (the Danes) caught up, as did Colin, Kelsey, and Claire! Sam and Al went to the store for a six-pack, Colten joined our gang, and we had a regular ol' family gathering.

There was intense pressure to get vortexed into camping at Warner Springs. Everyone was doing it, they said. Stay and drink beer, they said. We'll order a pizza, they said. Well, if you want to avoid getting vortexed (stuck in a town longer than you had originally planned), there's only one way to do it. Suck up your FOMO and walk your ass back to the trail. 

Al and I did just that, though we didn't make it more than two miles out of Warner Springs before setting up camp. Our campsite was the soft sand of a creek bed. There are trail rumors of a party tomorrow at the house of trail angel Mike Herrera. There are also rumors that you should never believe trail rumors about parties or free food, ever. It's just asking to be disappointed. We'll see.

The road to Warner Springs is paved with strange mist, eerie, magical, and completely suffocating in the heat.

Lord of the Rings, anyone? But for real, Eagle Rock looks like a dang eagle!

Here I am, riding off into the sunset and not getting vortexed.