Day 6: Barrel Spring to Lost Valley Spring (18.5 miles)
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
May 13, 2016 - Got going around 6am and knew it would be an easy 8 mile hike to Warner Springs.
It was a chilly start, I could see my breath and my finger were very cold, had to break out my gloves to keep my hands warm. It didn’t take long to warm up but then again it’s the desert. Most of the morning was hiking through these rolling hill of cow pastures with these random huge boulders scattered around, rocks almost seemed like they didn’t belong like someone placed them there. Then came up to Eagle Rock which is a set of boulders in the shape of an eagle.
Arrived into Warner Springs before 9am and was excited to get all the little things in life that most people take for granted like clean clothes, shower and a hot meal just to name a few. I did have to take a shower and clean my clothes the old fashion way, with a bucket of hot water. After cleaning up I hiked the mile over to the local golf course clubhouse that had a restaurant and ate a large pizza. It tasted good and knew would be hard to hike out of town after consuming that many calories.
I spent way too long there and before I knew it was 11am and too late to head out since it was still more expose cow pasture during the middle of the day. So I pulled out my mat and relaxed for several hours under a huge tree. I thought about camping at Warner Springs for the night as I didn’t really feel like hiking that much more for the day but I knew I needed to stay on schedule as much as possible.
By the way, the Warner Springs Resource Center, where I stayed all day, is a popular hangout for hikers. That was the most hikers I’ve seen in one place so far on trail. Hikers would come and go so I would say there was always 30-40 hikers there at any time.
Finally around 4:15pm I decided it was time to move on but it was still kind of hot with just enough wind to where I couldn’t use my umbrella. Those first 2 miles were pretty rough but soon the wind stopped completely, like someone hit the off button, so I broke out my umbrella which made a big difference.
The cow pasture turned into what seemed like a dried up lake. Then I found myself hiking right through an abandoned ropes course. For some reason the area gave me a real creepy feeling so I was glad I wasn’t going through this area in the evening. Then the trail turn into high desert then to mosquito filled forest then back to upper desert. This was all in about 10 miles. That’s the thing about this trail, it’s always changing.
I get to my last water stop for the day, Lost Valley Spring, right on a peak with a great view of the area. I was planning on getting in a few more miles but the sun was starting to set and couldn’t pass up this great spot. I probably could have gone a little farther had I not stay at Warner Springs so long. I made the right call as it got dark quick.
Water sources are going to be tricky these next 30 miles. It appears there is only 1 reliable source between here and the Paradise Cafe, 8 miles away so I’ll have a big water load in the afternoon.