The First 110 Miles – A Reflection 

We arrived in Warner Springs (mile 110) this morning and thought this would be a good time to reflect back on the miles thus far.

All the hikers set up at Warner Springs, a common resupply point.

Things We Saw

  • Rattle snakes. Three of them to be exact; the first one was very upset that we disturbed his nap and rattled away. It’s much louder then I expected!
  • All sorts of cacti and desert flowers. The desert is full of life, particularly this year. California experienced a high level of rain and snow this winter which has made the desert unusually green and full of life.
  • Water caches, which are stashes of gallon jugs of water left by volunteers along dry sections of the trail.

    Rattlesnake number three

One of many cacti

Things We Experienced 

  • Sleeping in a rock cave. On a ridiculously windy evening we arrived at our intended camp site for the night, on a ridge just off the trail. It was highly exposed and we didn’t want to risk damage to the tent, so we found a little cave amongst the rocks and hunkered down for the night. We actually slept not too badly. Not our first time cowboy camping, but certainly the most unique location.

    In our rock cave. Dan’s holding down my sleeping bag so it doesn’t blow away in the wind.

Things We Lost

  • Dan’s right, pinky toenail. The evening of day five.

Things We Learnt

    • Elevate your feet. Just do it. Every rest break, every night while you sleep, put something under your feet and get them up there! I had heard this advice in multiple places before, but failed to heed it myself and experienced very swollen feet which resulted in absolutely incredible blisters. I had underestimated the combination of heat and long miles, but never again…
    • Desert dust is pervasive and clings to everything and everyone. I think I could use an entire wet wipe just to clean the dirt out of my eyebrows.
    • Early morning hiking is the best! Every morning we rise around 4:30 and are packed up and hiking by 5:15, Cliff Bar in hand. We hike silently in the dark, with just the light of our headlamps, for the first hour until the sun begins to rise. For the next two hours the desert is washed in golden light, and the cacti seem to glow. What started as a way to avoid hiking in the harsh midday sun, has quickly become the favourite part of our day, every day.

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