We've all heard it said before, "the photos don't do it justice." That being said, how about we start with a few desert bloom photos?
Daisies painted the mountains gold.
Golden Barrel cactus beginning to bloom.
The tall plants are called Ocotillo. Each plant has dozens of long stems covered in green leaves. Fixed atop many of the stems were bright red flowers. You get the feeling that you are on another planet when passing under these strange but beautiful plants.
They may be hard to see, but the path was also lined with tiny purple and yellow flowers.
Opuntia Basilaris, A.K.A. the beavertail cactus, or the pricklypear. This was the very first cactus blossom that we saw on the trail, right before we hit Stagecoach.
Yucca in bloom was also fairly common. Hundreds of thick petaled blooms stir atop a stem sometimes several inches in diameter. The wind here can be relentless, as we have experienced, and these stocks are built to hold up to those conditions.
OK, ENOUGH WITH THE FLOWERS ALREADY....
As we've all been taught in primary school, there ain't much water in the desert. We have been very fortunate with natural water sources due to last year's heavy rains. Streams and springs are running, cisterns are full. However, we still have utilized a water cache or two. These caches are usually off the trail a fraction of a mile, on some sort of access road. We aren't quite sure who's behind the liquid philanthropy, but they can rest assured that all who utilize these sources are thankful.
We followed an oak lined stream several miles until we reached the small town of Warner Springs.
Warner Springs Resource Center is rad, period. They offer a free place to camp, bucket showers, flushable toilets, free internet, laptops, charging capabilities and a decent snack selection. They are located about a mile from "downtown" which includes a gas station, post office and golf course/bar and grill. We got our bucket shower on, then went out for a night on the town. We split some tasty carne asada nachos and threw back a couple beers.
Meal time on the trail! Who doesn't love tuna in a bag?! The further we go, the more and more we look like we belong in the movie Deliverance... Seriously though, the food hasn't been half bad. We can get away with eating crap we wouldn't touch in our everyday life. Pop Tarts, Snickers bars, Oreos and Coca-Cola when we can find it! It's kinda like that movie Heavyweights, but without the cool go-carts.
This is one bad ass mountain town. It sort of has a Yosemite Valley feeling, without the bus loads of tourists and traffic jams... Katie and I decided to take a zero day (hiking zero miles) in this hiker friendly town. We wish we could have spent more time exploring the area but we decided it was more important to ice our ailments...
It's time to move on. Our next destination is Big Bear about 100 miles away. We have a big climb in front of us today so we better get on it!