Mile 109.5 to 127 (Mike's Place)
I'd like to make you believe we're roughing it out here, but so far the truth is trail magic is everywhere. Tonight we're at Mike's Place at mile 127. I don't quite understand the history here but the property is in the middle of nowhere on the edge of Anza Borrego State Park. In the last year the owner has catered to PCT hikers and its pretty amazing. But first we had to get here...
We left Warner Springs in a ground fog as we walked through the historic Warner Springs Ranch. Then it was several miles up Agua Caliente Creek, ever climbing in the Cleveland National Forest. After the riparian creek we were back in the chaparral with all the expected birds like Cal Thrasher and Towhee, Black-chinned Sparrows, and infinite Bewick's Wrens and Wrentits. At about 16 miles into the day we crossed back into Anza Borrego and then stumbled into the amazing magic of Mike's. There is no power and the closest grocery store is 1.5 hours away. It has the only reliable water for hikers in a 20 mile stretch, pumped from a well with a gas generator. It's all done by a couple of volunteers who work and provide all this stuff for donations. Only photos can do it justice as I sit here typing this working on my third beer and eating wood-fired pizza. Yes, hiking is tough.
Crossing the mighty Agua Calinte