Home Pacific Crest Trail PCT: Warner Springs

PCT: Warner Springs

by Lisa

Day 8: Barrel Springs to Warner Springs – 8.3 miles

Dan and I woke up on our last day on trail with Mother Nature reminding us that winter was on its way. It was one week until winter solstice. A north wind was bringing cold air to the valley and the clouds had thickened enough to block the sun.

Chaparral hills and cattle-grazed meadow
The trail on our last day was significantly different than any of our previous days. We would be hiking through private farmland where the landowners had granted a right-of-way for the trail.
Fall colour alongside San Ysidro Creek
After carefully crossing a local road we popped over a small hill and crossed a valley with nearby grazing cattle. We hiked up and over another hill and then another before turning to follow the dry bed of San Ysidro Creek up a small canyon.
We had a short climb out of the canyon and popped out once more under the wide open sky. It was a much drier section of the valley, with chaparral and cacti alongside the trail.
Sweeping vistas in the Valle del San Jose
The ground cover changed to cropped grass though this time there were no cows around. Instead we could see some unique rock formations ahead. We were coming up to Eagle Rock, a well-known local hiking destination.
We could see the eagle shape from a good distance away but it was even more dramatic up close. I’ve since dug around to find out if there are any native legends attached to the rock but I haven’t found anything yet.
Eagle Rock
Dry grassland
It was only three miles from Eagle Rock to the trailhead. Dan sped up with the finish line in sight. I fell back, wanting to dawdle and take as long as I could before having to return to civilization.
I also wanted to reflect on my week and my year of hiking. I had put over 365 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail under my boots since July 2018, and I’d now hiked 780 miles, over 20%, of the entire trail.
I’d also completed my personal goal of hiking both to and from both monuments marking the trail terminuses.
I’d hiked my way through a challenging year and came out feeling stronger in my soul than I’d ever felt before.
Fall colour in the La Canada Canyon
Welcome to Warner Springs!
Beach time in San Diego

It was a couple hours’ drive back to San Diego from Warner Springs which we broke up with a celebratory stop at the Julian Pie Company.

The next few days were spent swapping stories, visiting some local breweries, and hanging out at the beach. Having time with our best friends was the perfect way to wrap up our week and our adventure.

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