mile 314.5 – mile 332.3

17.8 miles


What a great day! What a long day! What happened today?!

We woke up in our soft-sandy camp spot. Such a beautiful, pink morning. As soon as we hit the trail, we were climbing a ridge. Climbing past so many flowers and grasses and smooth stones and little nooks. It almost looked like it had been landscaped, it was so perfect. We climbed up and then wove our way around the edge of this little valley all morning. It was another nice, comfy night, so it was immediately hot as hell. 

I’m not always good about knowing what’s going on with the trail each day. I know general things, but I’m not always sure of specifics, so I kind of knew that we would pass a lake today, but I had no idea what that really meant. I’m kind of glad, because that made the surprise even better. 

Like I said, it was HOT, and we were doing some exposed ridge waking. Although, every so often the ridge would dip into a nook in the mountain and it would be shady and lush and thick with poison oak. 

Miles after climbing high, we dipped back down to walk along a highway for a bit and then climbed up and up and up again. Just when I was about to despair the heat, we came up over a ridge and there it was, Silverwood Lake, sparkling before us like a mirage. I was the first one up over the ridge and I gasped and just stood and stared. My first thought was, “How do I get into that?!” Oh, it was beautiful. 

We followed the trail until we found a little beach with only two other hikers and climbed down to the shore. We threw our things in the shade, stripped to our undies and then I ran as fast as I could into the freezing cold water and dove under. I felt like a new person when I pulled myself to shore. I laid my tarp out on the sand and basked in the sun. 

I have no idea how long we were there. We decided to leave when a large group of hikers showed up and it started feeling a little too close. We wanted to put in another seven miles, at least, anyway. 

We decided to get to a set of park bathrooms about three miles away and then check in about where we would camp. Those entire three miles, we skirted round the lake, so we had a nice little breeze to take the edge off the heat. 

Once at the bathrooms (real flushing toilets and water we didn’t have to filter!), we talked about the coming days and where we would be and when. We decided to set ourselves up so that we only have 10 miles to get to McDonald’s at Cajon Pass in the morning. Hey, have I mentioned that we’re going to McDonald’s tomorrow? Then we’ll hike out of Cajon Pass and camp for the night before hiking on towards Wrightwood the next day. It will either take us two full days from Cajon Pass, putting us in Wrightwood on Friday night, or we can set ourselves up to hike into Wrightwood on Saturday morning and have a full day to do chores and then rest in the evening. We decided on the latter (la-tee-da). 

Since we’ll get to town on a Saturday, we decided to be smart this time and call ahead for a room. We had no luck at the first four places we called, but struck gold with the last one. We found a three bedroom cabin for $25 per person. And it has a game room with ping pong and air hockey! What?! And wifi! No laundry, but whatever.

After securing that gem of a place, we hiked on, hoping to set ourselves up for a 10 mile coast into McD’s tomorrow. And that’s just what we did! We found a great, if windy, little camp spot, and just as we were finishing setting up camp, who should walk up but Rusty and Lisa!!!!! They’ve need doing 20+ mile days to catch up! The gang’s all here! Hey, and guess what that means?! We all get to go to McDonald’s together!!! 

Today I met Julie, from Chicago, who started the same day as me. 

Today I learned:
– If I’m feeling down or homesick or questioning why I’m here, just wait a few days and it will be the BEST DAY EVER!

Today’s hike was powered by a cold dip in a lake and dreams of McDonald’s.