The morning began like all other so far. Early rising, taping feet and packing in the dark. Our silent morning reverie walk into the day.
Today was comparatively short after yesterday’s 32kms. We had about 24 kms to Werner Springs, and decided to hike 10 kms to Barrell Springs for a breakfast break.
The scenery had changed again back to low dense chaparral. In the mornings you can see little squirrle tracks criss crossing the trail, and the sun casts shadows across the valleys changing the way you see the landscape. I was a little grumpy and my feet hurt so i put my head down and walked steadily to our stopping place.
Barrell Springs is a lovely camp site. Down low in a valley, there isn’t any spring as the name suggests but a large concrete trough home to some loud frogs. Big, old oaks spread their canopy across a sandy floor. We rested on a log and ate our oats. Around us a couple who are hiking with their dog slowly washed their clothes and packed their bags. Two young women hikers cleared out quickly and not too soon after our trail friends Dave, Danny, and Goliath wandered in. Dave and Danny are old friends and Goliath hails from New Hampshire. He is newly retiered and fit as a fiddle. Some trail angel had left some Coke cans for hikers and the remaining few were shared around. I (meg) passed…….typical.
We headed out and soon came upon some lush meadows. There are a variety of grasses. Some long with large yellow seeds, another small with thick red bushells. Dotted across the meadows are yellow, purple, and pink flowers, and some prickly cacti. As we wandered across we reminisced on times spent gallopping our ponies around paddocks like this at home.
Toward the end of meadows you can take a slight detour to Eagle Rock. And it really does look like an eagle. We met a lovely couple who took a picture of us and gave us their trail mix, took our picture and began following us on Instagram (way to feel like a hero). They had 5 kids and didn’t look a day over 40.
Eagle Rock is 4.4 kms from Werner Springs. The most beautiful part of this final leg is along a little stream. It runs over rocks and old tree roots and in many places you walk under an archway of beautiful old oaks. They line the trail and provide dappled light, a respite from the midday heat.
We arrived at Werner Springs in time for lunch. A tiny old town nestled in a valley Werner Springs is home to a Golf and County Club, a school and our haven the Community Centre. This place is run solely by volunteers and makes its living purely off donations from hikers.
We dumped our packs, and headed to the bucket showers. After washing out filthy selves and our filthy clothes we did some personal admin and relaxed.
Phoebe and Harriet caught a ride with Whistling Jack to the gas station and picked up some beers (and Cheetos, and chocolate). I uploaded photos, lost and then found my passport wallet (which was in my clothes bag the whole time).
In the eveining the centre put on a BBQ (including veggie parties!!) for hikers. We sat around chatting for a bit and headed to bed around 9, very excited for the sleep in we were going to give ourselves tomorrow morning.