The day started with a cup of Via instant coffee before cleaning up camp. BooBoo and I were bound for the town Warner Springs about 13 miles north and a rendezvous with Magic Man.
Hiking out of camp shortly after sunrise provided for some nice cool temperatures and we made good time to Barrell Springs. Along the trail to Barrell Springs someone had made a 100 mile marker out of stones. This provided a minor but appreciated boost to morale.
Barrell Springs is the only reliable water for miles in any direction, save for caches like 3rd Gate. Reliable in that it flows all year but it still needs to be treated as US Forest Service doesn't test it. There is a parking lot at Barrell Springs and Magic Man was meeting a fellow Trail Angel Jan there to replenish stock at 3rd Gate Cache. Apparently finding the dirt road that leads to the cache is tricky and it's best to convoy on the way there. So we waited and were rewarded for our patience with Vanilla Creme Sandwich cookies from Magic Man and a chance to meet Jan. Whom we thanked profusely for her efforts in coordinating that critical water source.
This couple hundred mile stretch in the beginning is all high desert so water tends to especially be a focus while hiking it.
After a brief meeting BooBoo and I continued on our way. We hiked into rolling hills with large pasture lands in the valleys. Thankfully the wind was blowing and kept the temperatures more moderate than usual. In one of those pasture lands is a rock formation know as Eagle rock. Looking from all but one direction it is unremarkable. But approached from the correct side its namesake is immediately recognizable (see below).
Shortly after that we ran across 2 horseback riders. These were the first we'd encountered since starting our hike. The PCT is open to hikers and horse riders, no motorized vehicles of any kind. We think they were out for a short trip. It was neat to see the trail being used by horses.
When we arrived in Warner Springs we met Magic Man and went across the road to the Warner Springs Community Center which operates a hiker center during the summer. They offered everything from ice cream sandwiches, to a resupply store, to showers and laundry. We three had cheeseburgers and soda while talking to the other hikers we found there. The town uses the proceeds to support the community center, it's a win-win with hikers getting what they need and the town helping maintain a very nice facility.
After we'd had our fill, we piled into the car for the last night at Mt. Laguna. We were joined that night by Adam. He is the support driver for Team Disco Pickle. His wife and her friend are hiking the PCT this summer, while he is going to provide support (like Magic Man has for us) for the length of the trip.
It was in the middle of a heated cribbage match between Magic Man and Adam when we heard from Decaf. He'd left his hiking poles in the Warner Springs Community Center and it had shut for the night. Could Magic Man rescue his poles and deliver them to Decaf further up the trail?
A plan was devised and then it was time for sleep as another early morning awaited us all.