Barrel Springs - Warner Springs
My worries about tent stakes blowing out prove correct, as in the early hours of the morning (or late hours of the night) several whip out and my sleeping bag gets fairly wet. The ironic thing is that the night before I spilled half a gatorade bottle's worth of water all over my groundcloth, narrowly missing my sleeping bag and gear and soaking my handkerchief and some of my clothing. Oh well.
I crouch under my tarp like a miserable sodden hobgoblin and stare outside. It is still raining. It has been for hours. I wonder if it's worth attempting to wait it out. Two men who clearly did not spend the night hustle through the campground looking for another hiker. They clearly are going to whisk him away to warmth and comfort. I grimly wave as they pass with the rescued lucky hiker. One of them cheerily calls out "You'll be glad it's cold today when you start hiking!" I bite my tongue and only say "Not really. My gear is wet."
I haven't mentioned it until now, but my credit card got cancelled due to unauthorized charges made overseas the day before I left to hike, while I was in San Diego. I was burdened with a heavy pack, a cardboard box full of things to ship, and I'd spent most of my cash. It was upsetting and frustrating and as I sat on the stone steps leading up to the downtown San Diego Post Office wondering what I should do a homeless man called out "Just smile. It'll get better." I laugh every time I think of it, because he definitely thought I was homeless too. I thought of this again as I sat under my soaked tarp. I didn't even have enough money to afford a hotel room, if I wanted one. My only choice was to get up and walk. Heather came over to say good morning, which cheered me up. As I gathered my belongings and stowed them in ziplocks, hoping they wouldn't get soaked, the sky cleared.
There are roughly 9 miles to hike before reaching a tiny town. Heather's husband Honey Badger wrote "smile, dammit" in the dirt of the trail... and I did. I hiked quickly and passed them and Michelle and Straw, another really nice couple. I discover a heavy, crappy tent left five miles before town at a campsite and decide to hike it out rather than leave it as trash. Apparently this decision led to some good karma because minutes after I reach the road to Warner Springs I am offered a ride to the Kick Off festivities by fellow hikers. We cram me and my pack into a tiny Datsun driven by Too Much and set off. Yet another ridiculously easy hitch that I don't even stick a thumb out for. As we drive through Julian I spy Brian, Cameron and Tim attempting to hitch in fog & gloom to Kick Off as well. We don't have room so I wish them goodluck and know I'll see them soon. I do learn that Cameron saw a mountain lion, though! I am very jealous.