Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 9: Mile 100 to Warner Springs

Another note to my readers: I realize I've been struggling on the trail and writing honestly about it. I apologize for being a Debbie Downer in my posts. I know that most trail journals tell only about the awesome things and gloss over the rest. I want you all to know I AM having a good time out here even though it has been hard! I am hoping for the day my mind and body click into place. Every night I lay down, I hurt. But every morning in wake up hopeful, and then we do it again. This is only the first couple weeks, I'm sure things will get better. Even if they don't, I'll keep going because I'm stubborn like that! Thanks for the positive comments and hang with me just a little longer, my writing will get more upbeat...I hope. :-P
Last night was bad for sleeping, even worse than usual. My legs and feet would not stop hurting. Even laying down, feet elevated and wearing compression socks, which usually makes them feel way better, I woke myself up a few times crying. I've always been this way I think. If you ask my mom about me as a kid she'll tell you tales of me being "crying tired" and long soaks in the bath for foot and leg cramps. I took some Advil in the wee hours and when it kicked in I finally nodded off.

I woke up with Josh at 6am, as usual, and we did the normal breakdown, but with less food. We needed to hike about 9 miles to Warner Springs today. On the way we would see Eagle Rock and pass thru oak groves and prairies. A welcome change from the rugged San Felipe Hills.

It was cold out and Josh and I put on most of our extra clothing for the hike out. We reached Barrel Springs a mile later and sat down to get water and try to scrape together some more nutrition in the form of refried beans. Josh chatted with a fellow thru hiker and we watched a herd of day hikers filter into the parking lot.

We set out again crossing Montezuma Valley Road and started to climb out of an oak lined creek bed and followed the trail down into an open meadow filled with waving grasses and wild flowers as far as the eye could see. This was my favorite section of trail, so far, on our thru hike.

We rose again over a ridge and dropped into a beautiful riparian area next to the San Ysidro River lined with oak groves, boulder fields, and shrubs. The sounds of birds, the trickle of the creek and the breeze thru the trees made me want to lay down and become a part of the landscape forever, but we pressed on.

We crested another small plateau and we could see Eagle Rock in the distance across another open meadow. We dropped it into low gear and chugged our way thru the field until we met Mighty Mouse and Tom Cat, and a couple of day hikers. We chatted briefly before arriving at Eagle Rock where we waited for a large group of day hikers to do their thing. While talking with them I realized I've been pushing too hard. They were on their third zero and only putting in 10 miles per day. I don't think I need to hike exactly at their pace, but I shouldn't be hiking in tears. I need to take better care of myself and slow down. At last we took a few photos of Mighty Mouse and Tom Cat and they took photos of us before we all headed toward Warner Springs.

I had to stop several times to try to let my feet relax but it was no use. I ended up just pushing thru as hard as I could and found it ironic that I could feel so bad in such a beautiful place. I need a break!

When we arrived at hwy 74 and Warner Springs, we sat on the curb by the fire station and waited for our friends Robert and Kathy who were going to pick us up. We piled in the car and drive to temecula where we ate a glorious dinner at Outback. As soon as I got a bit of food in my belly I started to fade and felt my eyes and limbs get heavy and ready for sleep. Robert and Kathy were nice enough to drive is to a hotel in the area and Josh and I booked two nights!

We bid Robert and Kathy goodbye and walked to our room. On the way down the hall we spotted guest laundry! Awesome! Once in the room we dropped our gear and I headed next door to In N Out for shakes and fries. We ate until we couldn't stand it and I went to shower.

Once in the shower I started having a major nose bleed, probably from the dry, dusty air. I sat in the shower for 45 minutes trying to get it under control. I will add nose care to my list of evening chores when we get back on the trail.

Right now it's 8pm and Josh and I are cleaned up and sitting like zombies in the bed. Time to sleep. I am so glad we have a whole day to relax tomorrow!

Until then. Good Night!


  1. You haven't finished the PCT yet, but you did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night! There's the next commercial.

    No harm in slowing down now, and definitely a lot of benefits. Don't apologize for being honest with your readers, it just means you're being honest with yourself and more likely to make ego free adjustments that will help you finish in the long run.

  2. Don't worry about how you think your blog appears to us stationary people. You keep doing what you are doing. We're with you all the way!
    I would prefer to continue to read what's off the top of your head than for you to be concerned with how it might be interpreted and gloss it over. Tell it like it is!

    I went on a short 8-mile hike yesterday... and was feeling the pain.
    I thought about you guys and all the other PCT'ers out there as well. What you guys are doing is NUTS!!! You have every right to talk about your hardships! You've earned it.


  3. Hey Mandie,

    I'm finding your blog to be quite interesting. Most people who start the PCT do not finish it, and most people who run into major issues keep them to themselves. I am finding your struggles to be a very refreshing perspective on the trail, especially because I know the problems you are facing are very common.

  4. Hi there,

    Fellow thru-hiker here I hiked with my boyfriend last year and am addicted to reading all of the 2014-ers blogs. I also struggled immensely with EXCRUTIATING foot pain for the first 300 or so miles. Although too stubborn to quit, I was in tears frequently, hobbling along every day, wincing with each step, and wondering if I would make it (I did make it). And I will say this: IT GETS EASIER! It will get better - physically and mentally! My foot pain was out of control - it was absolute hell for me, so I sympathize with you and urge you to take it easy, enjoy unplanned zeros, and take care of those feet! Don't be ashamed to go into town and take 2 zeros in a row, even! It took us a very long time to get to Idyllwild due to stopping so often, but after that, our bodies got stronger and we were just as fast as everyone else. YOU GO GIRL! Oh, and no need to apologize for being "negative", it's real talk. Some readers prefer to hear the realistic version... and things DO get easier :)

  5. Hey Mandie, don't feel like you have to apologize - your honesty is refreshing! I'm sorry that you're having a rough time adjusting for now, but it will get better. You and Josh are totally badass!

  6. I agree with all the above!! Started reading your stuff from the San Jac message board in the past and got me hooked on your writing style. Tell it like it is please. That makes it real. When you're down just go back and look at your pics. It always looks like you're having fun.

  7. I agree with all of the is what it is!! I would love to have the courage/time to be right where you are! About 4 years back I became intrigued with this trail. I purchased the book PCT Oregon, Day and Section Hikes. I have said this to you before, reading this only encourages me to make sure I get some "treat" bags to different points of the trail in the coming months! I can't wait till you guys get closer to the Crater/Diamond Lake area in Oregon! You are doing awesome, your blog is great truth and all!! Hang in there. Looking forward to each and every blog! Keep on "Chasing Trail"! Lori I am not so computer literate that I can figure out how to post other than anonymous...:( I will have to find someone who can help me!! :)