Week 1 – The Green Desert – SHE

Day 1 – to Day 7. Campo to Warner Springs. 

Day 1. The day of the three serpents!
After the mass arrival at the southern terminus we were off! The biggest surprise to me was that the dessert was green. We have been blessed! Wonderful wild flowers of every colour imaginable. Probably the first time they have bloomed for years!!!

We played hopscotch all day with all the other ’19th of April’ hikers. As we politely overtook and then got overtaken again while we snacked or sought shelter. By mile 4 I wasn’t feeling to well. Was it the scorching heat? Was I not up to the challenge? Was it my mental-pause? I started having doubts! In the first 2 hours. Argh!!! Was I not up to this challenge? If I pulled out what would I do? Spend 6 months at George’s in Florida? Go home but have no home for six months? I began to feel really green and told Cory? Water? Food? Ugh I think I need to visit the bush with the TP! I ran uphill to thee nearest boulder and had a very ill bottom. After that and a siesta under a bush I was back. Evacuation avoided:-) I can’t believe I had doubts not just on the first day but the first few hours!

Fuelled by biscuits (oaty = ginger nuts) I thought woman can live on biscuits alone. It was boiling in the desert as the 6 years of

Drought was over and the desert was jubilant. Radiant in a mantel of green and garnished with beautiful wild flowers. Our PCT was going to be one which others hadn’t experience for years.

Ned the navigator and Speak Up showed us our first rattlesnake. It was big and coiled up in the underbrush where it had retreated from their feet. Later we saw two long and thin snakes getting a bit ‘jiggy with it’ on our path, they slithered off the trail to find a more private seduction spot.

Frodo/ Scout hadn’t seen Hauser Creek flowing for 12 years. We were blessed with water, a burbling Hauser Creek, on our first night. We got a great camp spot and slowly others trickled in and pitched there tent right outside ours! The ‘campsite’ was empty? An American thing where personal space is different? Think dirty dancing ‘this is my dance space, this is your dance space’ nope. Perhaps this is where the idea for skyscrapers came from!

Ned the Navigator also gave us a Poisoned Oak lesson. Must keep away from that!! Amongst Poisoned Ivy and Poodle Dog Bush. ‘Leaves of three, let them be… Leaves of five, let them thrive!’

Boarder Patrol helicopters buzzed overhead all night and the frogs chorus chirruped in addition to the hikers who jabbered all night about strip clubs. I slept Soundly with my earplugs and Scotrail eye mask. Cory did not!!!  15.4 miles

Day 2. The day of the five stings!

Hauser Creek via lake Moreno to Fred’s Creek. Up and out of camp by 6am, breakfast planned at lake Moreno with water and proper loos! On leaving Lake Moreno, Cory groaned that he might have been stung I turned around to see wasps
Crawling all over him. He said ‘go, walk fast!’. We both scampered away and then examined his body. About five stings, no sting sack! A antihistamine and Cory toughed it out (I’d have been floored with 5 stings).

At Boulder Oaks the ground squirrels were playing hide and seek as they popped in and out of holes to say hello!

I’d lost my will to live at 15 miles in the heat and eventually we covered the 16.6 miles. Fred’s Creek was flowing and again we arrived to only 3 tents and then slowly The Herd arrived and were loud. We’d still managed a good old flanneling and a wash of our honking clothes before then starting pitching outside our tent doors:-)

Day 3. The day of the Acorn Carpenteros. Fred’s Creek to Pioneer Camp ground.

We walked through amazing forest of pines and giant red woods providing us with wonderful shelter on another scorching day.

Resupply at Mount Laguna Store. Expensive! Ramen noodles 35 cents in Walmart and 75 cents at the store. $6 dollars for a Packet of cookies!

We had Planned to camp at Mount Laguna campsite until we realised they had no showers, due to snow damage, so plan B? Pioneer Campsite. Four miles by Trail or 2 miles by road. My little toes and decided to blister up and become
Webbed duck feet, extra flaps of skin were growing on my feet, so Cory made an executive decision of 2 miles road walk to camp. I was grateful as we seemed to have avoided The Herd and we got a lovely spot for our tent under a lovely old oak tree. The colonial Acorn Woodpeckers were busy with their whole extended family building a mansion in our tree until the sunset, they were great to watch. Once again we were tucked up before 6:30pm.

Distance. 18 miles

Day 4. The day of the mouse in the outhouse!

Pioneer Campground to Rodriguez Spur.

Pioneer Camp had ‘drop’ outhouses so at least the morning ‘visit’ had a seat. Up before first light with the woodpeckers, torch in hand, I stumbled and hobbled to the outhouse. Ah the luxury. No fear of anyone catching me! Then the little scurrying noise as Mrs Mouse scampered up the vertical wall of my outhouse as I sat there ‘ruminating’. Presumably I should have knocked to check she was finished before rudely interrupting her! She was a sweetheart though. All big ears and brown eyes. I finished my business undisturbed.

Another hot day. Down into the desert. Up into the desert. Amazing flowering cactus.

The water source was a tank and again we arrived early afternoon. Despite there being lots of empty camping space the second our tent was up someone wanted to camp

Right beside us? Guess people don’t want privacy on the PCT. Or are we just weird Brits?

The wee biting beasties were out so after tea we retreated to the tent ( without outer) for our usual pre 7pm ‘time for bed’.

Day 5. Day of a thousand ant hills!

Huge climb down To water Cache. Huge climb back up! This is, we are about to discover, the theme of the PCT! The high trail, the low trail but always the hot trail. The ants are frozen in the morning and then their motorways start flowing. We step over 1000s of their city’s.

Ned the Navigator leaves the trail and we get Trail Magic as he empties his food bag! Cheese Gromit! Cheddar cheese, gummibears and clod bars.

Mandy2, another they hiker, has a very impressive massive squirter blister explosion which we watched her pop with a needle. It’s better than TV! A 3rd blister appears, all on my  left foot,  so I don’t feel left out.
We watch a beautiful Black butch chunky lizard doing press ups, he glistens in the sun.

It’s a Dry camp for us that night, no water at all. England cricketer zinc oxide face appears and I consider the Trail Name of Botham for myself! How sexy am I?. 🙂

Words of wisdom/wit / gobbledegook. Cory ‘ it will be easier to carry the cheese in our bellys’ … so we eat the 8oz of cheese with lunch. Burp!

Rodriguez spur to dry creek bed. 18 miles.

Day6. The day of the ‘Triceratops lizard’ and Little Baps on the Prairie.  

I spot an amazing lizard on the trail today and we manage to Get some photos and videos of the wee guy. He’s prehistoric.

We find a Fantastic well stocked water cache and collapse for our breakfast. I Had wings on my shoes today as I started to listen on my iPod, spanish lessons (2) and then Stonemouth book.

While storming ahead I vaguely hear a shriek behind me, a Huge snake jumped out across Cory’s path after I passed. It was BIG, as thick as my lower arm! Yellow and. La k diamonds. There are certainly thousands of lizards on the trail. Trail Snacks for lizards!

We reach Barrel Springs by lunchtime! So managed more miles. To avoid the herd, we Camped in the prairie. Prairie in the desert? We hadn’t anticipated Lots of jaggy burrs from the prairie grass!! We’d be pulling them out for days!
There was a Cattle water trough with water flowing thus the chance to flannel away the day’s sweat and stickiness! Cory has me in stitches when he makes fun of my ‘little baps on the prairie!’

Dry creek bed to water trough beyond Barrel Springs. 18 miles.

Words Of wisdom/ wit or gobbledegook: Mad Mandy grump at lack of space in tent/ sleeping bag ‘ my legs aren’t meant to be together!!!! ‘

Day 7. Little Tent on the Prairie to Warner springs. 5 miles. And 2 mile walk to golf club for breakfast and PO for our box.

The weather on day 7 reminds me Of Scotland, dreich and tut tut tut it looks like rain! Cory manages to convince me to walk off the trail to look at Eagle Rock. It’s worth it!. Cold cloudy day through Prairie then lovely woodland it really Could have been Scotland.

The Warner Springs Community and Community centre itself are amazing. Camping under ancient oak trees. Wifi. Hiker box. Bucket shower with warm water. Fuzz free legs 🙂 We even get to Charge our idevices and bucket dook our clothes. Four buckets of water and the water is still light chocolate coloured, well they must be a bit cleaner?

We gain lots of delights from the hiker box including chickpea snacks, rice tea, pop tart and emergency Velcro.

I see a little Skunk bounce across the golf course, we are clearly now very attractive to skunks. And I Nearly stood on variegated snake! Hiker hazards.

Words of wisdom/ wit / gobbledegook: it had Looked like rain that morning. On arriving at the community centre I asked the volunteer if it would rain. Volunteer ‘oh hunny we don’t get much rain around here. It might rain next year.’ 🙂


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