Day 21: Lowered Expectations

5/2/16 19.5 hot miles PCT mile 342.0

I’m eating like a child, like a really gross child. I’m buying food I would never think of buying if I were not on the trail. When I looked at the food on the conveyor belt at the grocery store I felt disgusted and slightly embarrassed. Pop tarts?!? Is that even food?? Four days later and all this junk food is not so desirable. It’s hard to find food that is both high caloric, light, and healthy. When you pack “healthy” food you just want junk food, so then you pack junk food and you want healthy food. It’s hard to win, but you can never go wrong with ice cream! Today we have our sights set on Cajon Pass, which has a McDonalds! I have never had a hamburger from McDonald’s, a long long time ago I had a chicken sandwich from McDonald’s and I got sick. So never again. I will eat a Mcflurry though (I’m not totally crazy).

This was good and then it wasn’t

Last night we camped in a less than desirable gully that was slanted and sandy. I set an alarm because we didn’t make it as far as I wanted the previous day and I knew it would be hot. I woke up before the alarm went off so I woke Matt up from the ground where he now sleeps. I’m living high on inflatable flats while Matt sleeps on the ground. You might say, well at least it was sandy. This does not matter, sand is a hard surface when you are trying to sleep.
We were on the trail at 6:50 and immediately entered Silverwood State Park. The boundary of the park was nothing to write about, but I will. We got to see the backside of the dam that created Silverwood lake. It was beautiful!! 

Dam

Then we were treated to a maintenance yard.


As if that wasn’t nice enough we got to walk past the Mohave power plant and next to a highway.

Spillway

One of the best parts about this trail is that it changes frequently. Within 5 miles you can be in a totally different environment. We soon were,  but first we encountered some trail magic tucked away from the highway.

Trail magic

After some grapes and a banana we quickly climbed a hill to Silverwood Lake. This is where I wanted to camp last night but we dinked around too much and ran out of day light. 

We spent some time at the day use area of the park enjoying flushing toilets and clean water. It was starting to get hot and the thought of an iced coffee and ice cream became my motivation. McDonald’s here we come! First we had to climb up out the lake area on exposed hot ridges. I started to get hot and didn’t want to talk. Matt started to get all optimistic on me saying, “oh we got a nice breeze.” I was not interested in hearing this. I started to lag and then I remembered I had a sun umbrella. I found this umbrella free in a hiker box in Idyllwild. I have been carrying it for 150 miles. After much monkeying around I was able to attach it to my pack hands free. It was a lifesaver, I felt so much cooler and I made a miraculous recovery and marched right up that mountain. 

Where we had come from
Where we were headed
Feeling high and mighty under my shade

We stopped at the last water source before McDonald’s so Robin could cool off. Robin was also overheated and had been dreaming of a waterfall where he could swim and recreate the iconic Cocktail movie scene. 

If only I had someone to share this with. Batman!?!

After Robin lived out his fantasy we headed back out on the trail for 9 more miles. There was recently a fire near Cajon and as we cleared the last ridge we could smell the fire and see the burn area. Luckily, it was quickly contained and over a mile from the trail. The last 3 miles were on a steep ridge with sheer cliffs down to the canyon floor. My umbrella quickly folded backwards at the slightest breeze and I had to put it away.

The long and winding trail

Less than a half mile to the road as the sun was reaching that level where it blinds you Matt encountered a rattlesnake. Our 4th sighting to date. The snake rattled angerly and Matt jumped in the air and ran away. 

All curled up
Matt recovering

We quickly got out of there and headed straight for McDonald’s. After studying the menu I noticed they had smoothies. I ordered one and the teenage cashier said, “oh we don’t have those here.” Then why are they on the menu?!?! Oh well, I ordered fries, iced tea, and an ice cream cone. Later for dinner we went to Del Taco. Selection is very limited, but either my standards are super low or it just wasn’t that bad!! We stayed the night at The Best Western where we picked up new shoes and a package filled with goodies from Matt’s former coworker Mimi. I know love zipfizz!!

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