Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Warner Springs to Agua Caliente: We Have Trail Names For Eachother, But They're Not Very Nice

      We sat outside the community center in Warner Springs, watching hikers filter in and out of the building, some greeting us as they walked by. As we sat there with our coffee and Coke, a big guy by the name of Bison sat down across from us. "You guys see the snake yet?" We looked at each other, nodded, unimpressed. Melissa shook her head and stood up. "Where is he? He needs to let that poor snake go." 
      Earlier in the day, we passed a hiker we refer to as Goofy Canadian with a snake he had found near his tent, claiming he was going to keep it as a pet. Goofy Canadian is also referred to as Dagger, Knick Knack, and most likely in the future either Snake Charmer, or Crocodile Dundee. We met Goofy Canadian in Mt Laguna at the local outfitters as he dumped all of the useless knick knacks he had out of his bag. "You guys want this?" As he asked us, he held up a patch for an air mattress. "Why in the world would we want that?" Melissa asked, laughing, taking a sip from the can of Coors in her hand. Goofy Canadian shrugged, unperturbed and ever since then he seems to show up in places you wouldn't expect to see him. In Julian, everyone spoke of the guy that killed the rattlesnake and fed it to everyone that stayed the night at the hostel and today, he was the guy with the snake in his bag that he would pull out and show everyone.
      As Bison and his friend TP Two Rolls sat with us, Melissa got up and went inside. Bison looked at me, "You two aren't big into socializing with the other hikers are you?" I chuckled, "Well when there's a ton in one place, we kind of suffer from social anxiety. Especially after not seeing another soul all day." He nodded, "It will thin out a bit after this, I think. There have been a ton of hikers that really glob together though. I can definitely see where you guys are coming from. You would have hated the AT. There are people everywhere on that trail."
I was glad that someone else understood that the community aspect of the trail didn't have to be mobs of people to be fun.
     When we left Warner Springs, our packs light due to the half load of water we were carrying, we followed a group of boys across the field, wondering if we would have to share the campsite next to the water. We walked quickly, aware of the water we would be able to splash into after the five miles. As we neared the three mile mark, we heard another group of guys behind us and we picked up our pace so that at some places along the trail we were doing a modified jog so that they wouldn't be able to catch up and take our spot. As we neared the water, we spotted tents...and more tents. We walked on. A half mile later, we crossed the stream again and came upon the second larger campsite. We walked farther along and there next to the stream sat a whole boyscouts troop, their tents spread out across the campsite, young boys running around like small whirlwinds. Melissa's grin widened. I grunted, "My punishment for hating men now is that one day any babies I have will be boys." She laughed. "Are you kidding me? That's what I hope for. Just a flock of little boys." We found a spot under a large oak, set our packs down and walked to an undisturbed part of the stream. When we got in, washed our clothes out, our feet and faces off, we both sighed, satisfied. "It smells like the Black Hole. Fishy and muddy. But even so, I feel so clean."
      When we got back to camp, we set up the tent and had an incredibly tasty dinner of Chili and Beef Ramen Noodles and afterwards listened to the boys' screeching laughter and the adults talk about the Little Dipper and Shrodinger's Cat.