Back to the trail.
We rose early and caught a parting breakfast from the ADZPCTKO. Shortly after 7am, "Squatch" (a trail celebrity of sorts and past hiking mate) drove us over Mt. Laguna and back to where we left trail at Warner Springs.
The first couple of miles cut across a large grassland valley, crisscrossed by numerous foot paths. Every five minutes, the trail split into two paths. Fortunately trail markers were placed every couple hundred yards, so if we weren't too busy staring at the wildflowers, or near wild horses, we could make our way across the land without too much frustration.
Shortly after crossing the highway, we began skirting Agua Caliente creek. About one mile down the creek, we caught up with Uncle Tom, The Mayor, Dick Wizard, and General Lee; a four person group, three of which hiked the Appalachian Trail together, the fourth being a brother joining up for this adventure. After hopping the creek three or four times, we made a small climb out of the valley, back to the standard shadeless desert we now call home.
Midday, we hit a spring shortly off trail, where we replenished and sat out the afternoon heat. The three guys from Israel pulled up and shared a very enticing trail rumor. Squatch told us that there was a trail angel seventeen miles from where we started the morning at. The Israeli trio (now called D'Israeli Gears) told us that "Gourmet", the cook at ADZPCTKO, was bringing leftovers to the trail angels house to do a few nights of Barbecuing for thru-hikers.
Our general pattern of hiking four to five miles before a rest was ignored. We made the seven mile stretch without a break. As we hit the road, we turned the bend and were greeted to a stereo blasting Michael Jackson. Ten minutes later our boots were off, and we were being spoiled with BBQ hot dogs, chicken, and ice cold beer.
Casa (Mike) Herrera, Inc. came equipped with a sleeping shed, a pool table, several hammocks, as well as a vast surplus of dining delights. This sort of treatment is always well loved on the trail, but results in excess food (read weight) in our packs. I suppose we'll just have a couple double-dinner nights.
We woke to breakfast burritos. Gourmet was cooking eggs and beef. Apricots and I supplied some tortillas and hot sauce. After the tasty breakfast, we donned our packs and headed back to the desert. Camp Mike Herrera turned the speakers on, and pointed them to the desert. Our ascent was easy with the tunes of Michael Jackson cheering us the first couple miles.
Sing us in... Sing us out.
We hit the trail at the San Diego County line, and entered into Riverside County. Our walk took us through the standard desert chaparrel we have grown accustomed to. With my limited flora knowledge, I tried to point out the vegetation I knew to Apricots; Chemise, Yucca, Manzanita, Ribbonwood, Prickly Pear, Barrel Cactus, and Cane Cholla. But, soon my knowledge was exhausted. For trail humor, we have taken to creating our own plant identification. I generate a latin name, and she generates the common name.
We have passed great purple flowers aptly named "that purple plant back there" (Laurnatum Purpleipsis), which should not be confused with "that purple one up ahead" (Apricotus Purpleitum). A new plant appeared after Casa Herrera, Inc. We named it "Weed-Psyche" (Adobus Herreras). One other newly named plant yet to receive a common name is the "Legus Ripus" which belongs to the "Don't-eff-with-us" genus, along with Poison Oak.
We took a long siesta in a small shade patch next to a barely running Tule Creek, before continuing our northbound walk. After dipping down into Nance Canyon, we made a grueling ascent out of the small desert Canyon. We really should have had dinner at the bottom of the canyon, because we were both exhausted for the climb out.
Shortly before sunset, we arrived at a water cache. We ate dinner and set up camp. With our surplus of food, we prepared a second dinner after sunset, and dined with the Uncle Tom quartet. They are a fun group, and I hope to hike a distance with them. Uncle Tom looks like David Carradine (who played Bill in Kill Bill), and General Lee looks like General Lee.
We went to sleep under a near full moon.
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