Friday, April 11, 2014

Making Myself Useful

Last night I overheard Frodo mentioning that Jan is going to maintain her water cache, and I offered my help in carrying those water bottles to the cache. I figured I might as well do something useful while I'm here, since I only start my actual hike tomorrow morning.

This morning Jan was glad to accept my offer, and she took me, along with her husband Jim, to the cache. On the way there I heard many stories about the trail, and the trouble the PCTA and local maintenrs have with maintaining it, and making sure everything runs smoothly. It's not an easy task, but all those volunteers are doing it anyway, and we shouldn't take it for granted.

Before we got to 3rd Gate Water Cache (near PCT mile 91), we stopped by the Barrel Spring water & campsite (PCT mile 101), and met up with Lawrence. He was just done cleaning the spring, and replaced all the water in the trough. That's where I first met the actual trail. It was a bit exciting, yeah.

Barrel Spring
From there, we continued along with Lawrence to the 3rd Gate cache, and filled it up with more water. We also carried away the empty bottles and cardboard boxes. It felt nice to take care of the cache, and I can't wait to actually get there on the trail, so I can view the work done there in a different light, now that I know what it takes to maintain a cache (well - I got a small taste of it, at least)
The re-stocked 3rd Gate water cache
Next, we went up the side trail from the cache, back to the PCT. It's a small 5 minute hike. There is a register at the trail junction that Jan wanted to check, and the wooden "Water" sign was mysteriously broken, so Lawrence fixed it with some nails. Everything looks good now.
Climbing up towards the PCT, from 3rd Gate water cache
We went on, southbound on the PCT, for about a mile. One northbound hiker past us along the way. We were looking for an old "water" sign laying in the dirt, near a washed out road which no longer led to any water source. We couldn't find that sign near the junction, but Lawrence and I went down the washed out old jeep road back to the "main" dirt road to meet up with Jan and Jim at their car. It was a nice little hike.

Afterwords we moved on to visit the Warner Spring community center. Even though the site does not have a resort anymore, the community has put together a small store for the hikers, with the stuff that we'd need when passing through. There are also toilets and a shower, and a small restaurant that serves burgers (And - Veggie Burgers! That was really surprising), so we had a nice lunch there, before heading back for the long drive to San Diego.

It's been a long day, but I can't wait for tomorrow, to actually start walking this thing.