I was the first person to leave the Warner Springs Community Center this morning around 6 am. Today the weather was less windy and more misty. It was like hiking through the clouds all day.
I passed a few groups of hikers who had stopped and made camp just past the community center. They were just starting to break camp. As I was crossing a stream near their camp, I slipped and ended up with both feet submerged in the icy water.
After 17 miles of hiking, I came across a place called Mike’s Place. It hard to explain exactly what is Mike’s Place, but it is known on the trail for being hiker friendly. It is a pretty funky, but sketchy house out in the middle of the desert that is run by a hiker who has taken over as grounds keeper for Mike while he is in Washington. When I arrived, I was soaking wet and the grounds keeper invited me in and I got a chance to dry a little. After a bit, we went outside where he set up a heater and made us pancakes. There were only 2 other hikers there when I arrived, but over the next half hour 4 other hikers showed up and it became more lively. If you wanted to, you could stay overnight but I wouldn't.
I hung around until 4:30, and then started hiking again. It felt really good to take a break and eat some warm food. I caught up with another hiker who left Mike’s Place just before I did. His trail name is Black-Squatch. He received his trail name after hiking the AT. He came home with such a beard that his girlfriend said he looked like a sasquatch. It was great to hike with someone and we traded our craziest Appalachian Trail stories. We hiked about 6 more miles and set up camp with a few other hikers.
I called home this evening to wish my Mom Happy Birthday from the trail. Happy Birthday Mom!