We left Warner Springs pretty late, at about 9:15, after we had our breakfast at the community room so we didn’t have to use our cooking gas. We set out to have a long day – 28,5km – which we also did, but it wasn’t that easy.
That day was very very hot and there was barely a breeze and definitely not a lot of shadow on the trail. We also had to carry the perfect amount of water because we had like a 16km waterless stretch. We had estimated our water needs based on the previous days but with the heat (in hindsight) we should’ve taken some more. It was also a pretty tough day in the ascent sense so we ended up having two longer breaks during the day.
We had our second break at about 5km before our destination (trail angel Mike’s place & water tank), just to rest our feet. As we were getting ready to leave and stood up, I noticed a strange beige thing right next to where my foot had been the whole time – it was a small, curled up snake (maybe a cm in diameter, curled up maybe 5cm from side to side). As I pointed it out to Kristians, it took him about a minute to finally see it – that’s how well camouflaged it was in the desert sand. We also realized we had probably stepped right over it when we approached our rest spot.
To our luck the snake was super chill, nearly lethargic as it was clear it was in the process of digesting a meal. Kristians took advantage of the situation and took some close up shots with the selfie stick.
We then continued onwards towards water and once there, decided to camp at Mike’s. There were 5 other hikers staying there, so we had a nice evening all together, chatting about the trail.
Today we hiked even a kilometer more than on the previous day because I wanted to end up at trail angel Mary’s Hiker Oasis (so 29,5km). Luckily this day was much cloudier than the day before and even had a bit of a breeze going on but don’t get me wrong – it was still very hot.
We started off at about 8, heading straight into a 3km ascent followed by a gradual descent all the way down to a supposed water source at km 16,5. We had carried 3 and 2 liters of water respectively, which were nearly depleted as we hot to the trailhead to the spring. There was a letter there, from the day before, saying that there is no water in the tank. However, we knew that there was also supposed to be a creek right below the tank so we went anyway. The creek turned out to be flowing well but had lots of algae and organic matter in it and even smelled bad. So just in case we both filtered and treated it chemically. We again filled up to the same amounts as before as the next water was supposed to be at our destination 13km away.
So we continued, ascending a total of 460m up to the Hiker Oasis. At some point we saw a sign “Water cache ahead – approx 1 mile” – it made us so happy because we knew we could drink as much as we desired. For some reason this water cache was not marked on our maps so it came as a surprise to us. When we were having our break at the cache we also got a surprise visit by two cute rabbits.
After the break it was time for the last 3,7 kilometers. Kristians was somehow super tired by now and getting grumpy-hungry. But once we arrived, all was good. This Hiker Oasis includes a sort of shower, an outhouse, a free library, two sunroofs, some picnic tables and a water tank. We had our dinner, set up camp and mostly just talked to a hiker called Bible, who is a retired guy from Washington state. Another great but hard day well spent.