Hiking, PCT 2015, Travels

Day 8: Shutdown

Warner Springs Resource Center is a pretty amazing illustration of the kindness of people on the trail. A school building across the street is staffed by volunteers who do laundry, cook, bake cookies and manage a small resupply store for filthy and hungry hikers. Much appreciated after a long, hot and dry stretch of trail. But the San Diego county health department has shut them down because they can’t find permits for cooking, sewerage and whatnot. All the hikers who had camped out under the oak trees for the sole purpose of obtaining at hot breakfast at 8am were sorely disappointed.

Fran, Sababa and Simon hiked out around 6:30am and I made a pretty peaceful oatmeal breakfast under the trees whilst everyone around me woke up and started packing. I stayed out of the way during the shutdown complaints, and thought about the upcoming zero day. I need to rest my knee until it is fully better this time. Chug and Dolittle are both zeroing here too. Chug has a similar IT band issue and Dolittle has the most swollen shin splints I’ve ever seen. Anna and Sarah are planning to hike out today, but the U.S. Postal Service has done something funky with Anna’s resupply box so she is having to wait a while. Her first set of replacement tent poles got sent to Mount Laguna, but arrived after she had left, and the package got bounced to Warner Springs. In the meantime the company sent a new package direct to Warner Springs so she now has two sets! And still no food: the box with the food got sent to Walnut Creek. Why? Walnut Creek is up near San Francisco! It got redirected but still didn’t arrive. Luckily hikers are a nice bunch and carry too much food so we all donated some vegetarian bits and pieces and made up her quota to see her to Idyllwild.

Later in the day, Chug and I formulated a plan. There is a grill out in the yard, and whilst the women at the Resource Center aren’t allowed to cook and sell food there is nothing stopping hikers clubbing together to buy food and cooking it themselves. Someone went out to fetch some charcoal for us, we bought all of the frozen meat from the Center and started up a barbecue. Big Spoon took over the fire once I had the burgers cooking, whilst Chug sorted the salad and condiments for service. We cooked 30 burgers and took around $5 each for them. Everyone was happy – the community gets its money from food, hikers get fed, and injured hikers bumming around for the day get a taste of trail angeling. What a great bunch of people.

Even better than that, Anna introduced me to a lovely guy called Glen who lives in a house in the hills above Warner Springs. He came back to fetch me after the barbecue and I stayed with him and his wife Ann overnight where I had a shower, did some laundry and had dinner in great company. They only moved here in the last couple of years but have integrated themselves to take a role in the community. Glen called his friend at a TV station and hopefully we can get the Resource Center on the news and get the permit issue moving faster. Hiker season for them is only another 3 weeks and there isn’t much point in getting certified after then.

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