Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PCT Hiker sightings at Warner Springs!

At 7am this morning, Heidi and I drove through Anza Borrego State Park on a wildflower search. We drove south down past the Salton Sea but returned via S-22 to S-2 to 79 on past the PCT at Barrel Springs and Warner Springs.

On S-2 a few miles before heading north on 79 (which connects up with 371 and 74) I couldn't help but pull over and check out the PCT trail that goes by Barrel Spring, a welcome water source for PCT hikers. I've camped at Barrel Spring and have incredibly fond memories of this spot. Heidi and I walked over to the spring. Water was slowly dripping from the pipe into the trough, unlike the strong flow of water I'd remembered. But there was water and bees!

Back in our car and having driven about 7 miles, I spotted my first PCT 2009 hiker 500 feet before Warner Springs Resort. I was thrilled and quite jealous at the same time. I introduced myself and Barney (trail name - Be Hope) said, "I know of you Gottago. I'm pleased to meet you." My friend Heidi was quite surprised I'm sure that a fellow hiking along the road knew me. Be Hope left on his PCT hike at the US/Mexico border, March 11th, Wednesday night, and hiked a few miles before camping. He'd been leap frogging off and on with another young, fast, PCT thru hiker named Alex who was a bit ahead of him.

I gave Be Hope my card in case he needed to call for anything. Tonight, seven hours later, I heard from him. He requested I post to the online backpacking forum a question about snow conditions north of Warner Springs and higher up in the San Jacinto mountains, as well as the San Bernadino mountains.

Here is a photo I took of Be Hope that I'm posting (with his permission).

Having left Be Hope, I drove 500 feet before another PCT hiker sighting. Kamlin, a young boy, was waiting outside the Warner Springs Resort. I made a U turn, parked and went over to say hi, when his father came out of the Resort and said, "Hi Linda!" I was surprised. Kevin reminded me we'd met about 2 years ago when I was speaking at a meeting. What a small world.

Kamlin, and his dad, Kevin are out section hiking the PCT for a couple of weeks. They both look pretty happy. Again, I'm jealous. I miss the PCT.

Leaving Warner Springs, heading north, I spotted smoke in the distance. Hopefully, this is a prescribed burn as it seems way too close to the PCT.

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