We’re a little thirsty as we get going in the morning. We walk to the 3rd Gate Water Cache and are happy to find a few gallons of water there. Word at the Kick Off was that this water cache might be dry and wasn’t going to be resupplied until later today. Would’ve been a long, dry walk to Barrel Spring without water here.
We find the small cave noted on the map. Ashley fits in it. We pass mile 100 and celebrate by sitting in the shade and drinking water. The vegetation changes from chaparral and cactus to grass.
The trail enters an oak oasis for the last couple stretch to Barrel Springs. I relish the shade. I relish even more the beer cooled in the trough fed by the spring. Thank you trail angel.
We start to re-hydrate glop for dinner but are interrupted. Warner Springs Monty and Lake to Lake bring magic – sandwiches, veggies, watermelon, cookies. Natalie says it’s the next best day of her life. Scott has already eaten two dinner meals. Monty tells him, “Have something to eat.” Scott tries to decline. Monty says, “Somebody take his pack off of him.” Scott eats a sandwich.
We decide to camp right where we are. About a dozen hikers make the same choice. Ashley plays guitar and sings to them around a campfire (Natalie is carrying a Washburn Rover guitar, which weighs about 2 pounds).
In the middle of the night, I wake up to Natalie draping the rain fly over the tent. “We’re in a cloud,” she says.