Saturday, May 15, 2010

Riding the Eagle! Yeee-haw!

May 2: On our way out of Temecula, Amanda and I made a few resupply stops. We visited the evil Wal-Mart where I bought lots of food, Gold Bond, batteries and other necessities. (A headlamp that works! Woo-who!) Then we stopped at Carls Jr, where I feasted on as many calories as I could consume because hey--why not? I'll burn them off faster than I can eat them anyhow on this hike. Then we stopped at a Best Buy at the last minute so I could buy a new card for my camera. I won't see Amanda again for probably a good month and a half after this visit, and in case my camera card gets full, I want to swap them out, send Amanda the full one to copy the photos safely elsewhere, and be able to mail me a blank card back. We probably could have gotten that at Wal-Mart, but we had already left before I thought to buy one. It wasn't until we saw Best Buy on the side of the road that the idea hit me.

We stopped in Warner Springs to check into the resort here, but just long enough to check in. We didn't even check our room before Amanda drove me out to Montemuza Valley Road by Barrel Spring for me to slackpack into town. She brought some sodas and clemintines. She threw the sodas into the spring to stay cold for hikers to enjoy, and gave out the clemintines to the hikers sitting around.

Including Mad Hatter, who apparently mailed off his signature hat in a bounce box, but picked up a tent in the shape of a shark (yes, a shark) that was designed for "kids 3 to 9" so was now calling himself Shark. The tent was packed away, but one of the other hikers showed us photos of it, and it's absolutely hilarious. I have to camp with this man so I can get a photo of this tent. It might rank as the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen on a hike, and I heartily approve. =)

I moved on, tromping toward Warner Springs. The trail dropped into meadows and followed riparian habitats (if you aren't familiar with the word riparian, it's the environment found along a riverbank). The wide-open meadows burst with wildflowers--a seemingly endless parade of colors and shapes. Already, this hike has had an amazing abundance of wildflowers (I've put only a small fraction of the pictures I took of them on this blog), but today's show topped them all--and by a wide margin.

I found another large group of hikers taking a break alongside a creek, with several soaking their weary feet in the water. I didn't stop for long, though, and pushed through to Eagle Rock, a prominent rocky point on a hill that resembled an eagle with its wings spread as if it were about to take off. Only two other hikers were there when I arrived, Bob and Chris (neither were thru-hikers, so neither bothered with trail names). Bob was limping pretty badly and looked in a lot of pain, so I asked Chris to take a picture of me climbing the eagle as I waved my hat around like I was sailing through the air.

Getting down turned out to be a lot harder, though! I couldn't really see behind me very well to see where to place my feet, and Bob joked about me being like a kitten stuck in a tree. Fortunately, however, I did not need any rescuing, and managed to get off on my own.

The rest of the hike continued through more wildflower displays, before following a river back into Warner Springs. I agreed to meet Amanda at the second road crossing--Highway 79 loops through Warner Springs, and the PCT intersects it twice, both intersections about 1.2 miles from the town center. Without Amanda to pick me up, I'd have just hoofed into town myself, but why bother when Amanda would pick me up? =) But I had her look for me at the second road crossing to extend today's hike by two miles and decrease tomorrow's hike by two miles--tomorrow would already be a much longer hike as it was.

The trail crosses a ranch between the two Highway 79 intersections, and while I saw no cattle, I certainly saw plenty of evidence of their existence in the area. I watched a couple of gliders slice through the air above. The trail exists the ranch near an airport with gliders. They're pulled into the air by a real plane, then released and left to glide for 20, 30, or 40 minutes (depending on how much you pay) until it touches down on the ground again. It looks absolutely thrilling, and Amanda and I have reserved a slot to give it a try the next day. One glider startled me--I didn't see it coming in from behind me and they do glide through the air. There is no motor on them, so they're very quiet and it was coming in for a landing from behind me. I didn't hear it until it was nearly on top of me when a heard a strange humming kind of sound directly overhead not more than 50 feet away.

The trail wound its way through a "challenge course," or what I'd describe as a high-ropes course, then a campground, and finally under a bridge for Highway 79 where I walked up the road a short ways to the parking lot and waited for Amanda's arrival a few minutes later.

She took me back to the resort where I got my first view of our accommodations, and it's absolutely adorable! It even has a fireplace already stocked with wood, although they'll charge us $10 if we light it. There's a little lobby kind of area, where Amanda posed for some staged photos where she was pretending to read. Outside, we found a rabbit sitting out in the grass, and I slowly sneaked up on it trying to get a good photo. Amanda then showed me around the joint, including a cantina painted with remarkably elaborate murals.

I give this place two thumbs up!


Okie Dog said...

Great pictures, Ryan!! They must feed that bunny for it to let you get that close. Cute. Fun, newsy message. Thanks, OD

Anonymous said...

Enjoying checking in on your progress. Miss the google maps trail we had to follow your progress on the Florida Trail. LOVING the photos, can't wait to see the shark. Perhaps this will be the "land shark" you were looking for?

DC Stones

Anonymous said...

Green Tortuga, we're loving reading about your adventures in your posts! Sounds like a fabulous time for you! =) Be safe!

- Aunt Bee

GreenJello said...

If you're buying Gold Bond for chafing, you may want to pick up some "Anti Monkey Butt Powder" (also at Walmart). It has powdered calamine in it, and works mucho better than Gold Bond (IMO). And it has a funnier name. :)

Soup-a-Woman said...

Ryan, I think that's the coolest rock formation I've ever seen. We crossed close to the PCT this last weekend when we went over to Winthrop... it's still snowy on the trail right now.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you're having a ball, GT! Hike on!

T-N-T (TRH N T on AQ)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I second that monkey butt powder. I've used it for long trail rides in the saddle and it's great!

The wildflower photos are pretty. Are those California poppies in the first one?

Speaking of trail rides, I think that's the way I'd like to travel the PCT. But I wonder how the horses do with those huge gliders flying so predatory-like through the sky overhead?
I think my horse would bolt for the next county.

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers

word verif: cutin

That bunny was cutin!

KuKu said...

I loved Eagle Rock! It . .. well, it rocks!