Warner Springs(109.6)-Dirt Rd(134.8)
Day’s Mileage: 25.2mi (+1.2mi road walk)=26.4mi

After looking at the maps with Will(now Top Shelf) and Speed Bump, we realized that we were 41.7mi from Paradise Valley Cafe (not including 2mi of road walking). This cafe is a must along the trail and is said to have the best burgers along the trail. Top Shelf and I are also on a mission for our first chocolate milkshakes along the trail.

This meant that we needed to do at least 20 trail miles today so that we were in a good position to get to the cafe for dinner tomorrow night. We were on a mission and hiking by 5:40am. Since we couldn’t get a hitch back to the trail, we had to start off with an additional 1.2mi road walk back to the trail from the hot springs. We had a speedy morning and passed up many groups and other hikers as we climbed back up into the high desert hills. We climbed ~3000ft in elevation through switchbacks and winding up and down through the hills. It was tiring, but the weather is in the 70s, so we’re thankful for that. We did 10mi by 10am and that’s always a good sign. I was also able to get some great video of a rattlesnake we saw today and will put that up in my next summary of this section in a couple weeks.

A shade break under a great boulder!

About 18mi in, we stopped at trail angel, Mike Herrera’s house. His BBQ was cancelled due to a family emergency, but he was still hosting hikers and serving small plates of chicken, beans, corn, and bread. We spent 2hrs relaxing there with about 15 other hikers and it was a great break. Thanks Mike!

Many hikers headed out around 4pm to get to the few campsites in the hills 3mi away. By the time we got to them, there wasn’t room for all three of us. Since it was only 6pm and we were feeling good, we moved on another 3mi until we found space on a dirt road that dead ends at the trail. That made our mileage for the day a whopping 26.4mi. We actually feel great and even had time to still cook hot meals for dinner. Later, another hiker named Pete also joined us for the night. The best news is that we are only 16.5mi away from Paradise Valley Cafe tomorrow. Yay! It’s amazing how motivating a burger and milkshake can be for thru hikers!

One more thing. Trail names. Will is Top Shelf because he ordered one cheap margarita at Warner Springs and he managed to get free top shelf margaritas the rest of the night because the bartender just gave him the extra out of the blender every time she made one. Also, last night when the guys were going to sleep, I told them I was wired and would be staying up fir a bit. They jumped on that immediately and have started calling me Wired for all the meanings it includes. We’ll see if it sticks.

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