I didn’t get quite the early start I planned on today but I was hiking just after 6am. It was very blustery and chilly so I kept my jacket on for a while, but the cool wind allowed me to keep hiking even once the sun hit my heat rash. I got to the Third Gate water cache by 9 and took a long break there. It is one of three caches that the PCTA allows to remain since it is a very long, dry stretch otherwise, and the maintainer keeps it full. They have removed other water caches as they promote trash on the trail and people start to rely on them too much.
I stopped at a small cave for lunch, and it was all downhill from there to Barrel Spring. I put my feet up for almost two hours there, chatting with other hikers and cooking dinner early.
I wanted to make at least a few more miles, possibly all the way to town, but I ended up stopping at San Ysidro Creek to camp with some other hikers after 20.4 miles. There was actually a tiny bit of water in the creek, more of a puddle than anything. It’s a short hike to Warner Springs in the morning, where I just found out I will have a ride back to Kick Off.