Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day 21- Don't Think About Water

Silver Lake at 328 to jeep road at mile 352

I woke up to a very damp sleeping bag-a down side to cowboy camping.  I took as much time as I could getting ready without packing my bag.  I think the sun hit the area right after I loaded my pack.
It seemed like most of the hikers today were on a tear to get 13 miles done and be eating McDonald's by lunch time.  The trail intersects with I-15 at Cajon Pass and .4 miles from there is the McDonald's and a gas station.  And I knew from the guide book that there was also a Subway.  It's a little hard to resist.

The trail was good for making the miles.  It was nothing too interesting until mile 10, or so.  The trail climbed to the top of what looked like a sand stone canyon and from the lip I could see ridge after ridge.  I haven't seen anything like it yet on this trail.

The whole hike to the pass I tried to make up my mind between a sub with my favorite veggies or a chicken sandwich with fries.  It was a great way to keep my mind occupied.

On the way I was passed by two new hikers, both in a hurry to get to the pass.  Tommy and I walked the final mile with Caveman.  Right at the sign pointing towards McDonald's somebody had left trail magic beers.  11:30 after 13 miles didn't seem to early so we all had one.

Subway won and the three of us braved the traffic to walk the extra .5 miles to Subway.  I-15 is a huge interstate that I could hear for miles-thankfully there was a walker friendly way to get over the interstate and on to food.  It was a tiny gas station Subway that was busy when we came in, but seemed to clear out by the time we had our food.  I can't imagine our hiker funk had anything to do with that.  My sub was so good I got a six inch one to pack out.

And then it was time to go get fries and a McFlurry.  I ordered and joined the dozen hikers on the patio to eat.  Those of us with Chrome Domes put them up.  There were 5 of us sitting under silver umbrellas-I can only imagine what we looked like to the other diners there.
Chrome Domes protect from sun, rain, and make you look cool

Food wasn't the only reason to go to McDonald's.  From McDonald's hikers have to take enough water to get them the 27 miles to Wrightwood and that would have to include one night of dry camping.  I took four and a half liters of water, or nine extra pounds on my back.  My pack went from feeling pretty light to rather heavy.

Trains where a constant background sound
For five miles I sipped sparingly from my hydration hose.  It was four o'clock, but the sun hadn't lost any of its heat and the trail just kept going up.  It was thirsty hiking.  Every time I thought about 4.5 liters for 27 miles my throat went dry-and it seemed to be all I could think about.

Cashe of water
The trail descended into a valley to cross a road and right before the road there was a water cashe.  Water in the desert is such a welcomed sight.  Whoever managed the cashe had lawn chairs and a table there and the cabinet was stocked with water, first aid, and other odds and ends.  I had a snack, drank nearly a liter of water, and hiked on.

About half the group I was at McDonald's with hiked on for another five miles after the water cashe.  The trail climbed up from the valley-it was a very long, slow climb typical of the PCT so far.  By then it was nice and cool out, the sun behind the ridge.  I tried to keep up my pace to get to camp before dark.  I could occasionally see the others who left the cashe before me one ridge ahead.

I arrived at camp for the night-a jeep road that we all hoped didn't get much traffic about ten minutes after the others and with enough light to spare to set up my tent.  

From camp I can look down into the pass where I came from. The interstate is a ribbon of red and white lights.  The train whistle has softened, but still easy to hear 10 trail miles from crossing under the tracks.  Its a calm, warm night.  I think it's going to be good sleeping.

1 comment:

  1. I can see why you like that trail magic. So generous of those who leave it.

    I was impressed that you got caught up in the moment and went for the boat ride, as those are going to be the stories you'll tell your children someday.