This day was all Jennifer.
While the long climb of the day before kept her behind and chugging along, Monday was going to be all hers.
The plan was to carry just enough water to get to the next guaranteed water source, some 10 miles up the trail, then get to a campsite five miles later at a creek that has been flowing regularly this month.
For those keeping track, that would be a 15 mile day, our longest so far.
That campsite would poise us for a short 4 mile hike into town the following morning for a day of rest.
As most mornings start, we climb. It’s always a way to wake up the legs, but not a nice way for the brain, especially after a day like the one prior.
A bit into the climb, we hit a section that was a couple of miles long that really impressed on us the importance of trail maintenance. The section had not been tended to in quite a few years and was in poor shape. To be honest, it hurt.
For you trail geeks out there, the outslope was 15-20 degrees, which meant I was walking like I had a peg leg for a while. Overgrown and blown out tread were the rule. But when we popped out the other side, it was all freshly rehabilitated trail, so we’re confident that section will be tended to during the next maintenance season.
It also impressed upon us the importance of our helping fund these volunteer groups. Click here for details on our efforts and please help of you can.
Working through that section, Jen already had the lead. Once it smoothed out, she was on a tear. It was she who kept turning around to see if I was doing OK. I was, grinning while watching her go.
Seriously, she was on a tear. She got us a full 10 miles in before noon. If you’ll recall, that was our daily average goal for the first week. Early in our second week and she’s pounding the same distance out before lunch!
All of that effort even included a stop to look at her favorite flower so far:
And for this:
100 miles down. And as a snarky sign said, now we just have to do that 26 more times.
I can work with that, as it’s familiar territory – we’re running a marathon and we’ve just crossed the 1-mile mark.
So she gets us to shade and flowing water by noon. A nice siesta in the shade of the first real trees that we have seen in five days, then a leisurely 5 mile stroll to our creekside campsite with flowing water.
Except the report is outdated. The report as of early April had it flowing at a rate of 6 liters per minute.
There wasn’t a drop of flow. But it was obvious that the water was moving just below the surface, as the sand was damp. But getting to that would be too much effort unless we were in a survival situation. We weren’t.
So we kept moving to the next water source, two miles up the trail. That’s where we found that the two optional sources were almost 1/2 mile off trail. A mile round-trip isn’t a big deal, but when it’s only 3 miles to town, you make choices.
So we were going to push to town. But only after stopping at Eagle Rock.
After a late afternoon jaunt through a beautiful old-growth oak grove, we made it to Warner Springs, a spot where we were going to resupply and take at least a zero day.
Jen crushed 19 miles, the longest she’s ever moved on foot in a single day. With a load on her back. And she’s still smiling.
Day 9 – 19 / 109
Zero day. Sleep in, resupply, eat, shower and get laundry done to support the great people fund-raising for the Warner Springs schools.
Day 10 – 0 / 109