Archive for May, 2005

May 31, Tues.–15.3 miles–So. CA D Cajon Pass

Tues. May 31     Miles today: 15.3     Total miles so far: 357.4        Begin So. CA Section D

We slept in again this morning, then enjoyed the great breakfast provided by the Economy Inn.  Nice setup!  In the lobby, there’s an area with tables & chairs and a breakfast bar where you just help yourself.   We looked happily over the many kinds of muffins, pastries, bagels, oatmeal, cereal,  fruit, coffee, juice…..and ate some of everything!  Hmmm–do you think we’re getting a little food-obsessed?   After breakfast, I went back to our room to COUNT food to see what I needed to buy at the store to last us through to Agua Dulce.  I was worried about having to go slow because of Bill’s feet,  so I wanted to calculate how much extra I would need to get.

Then we loaded our packs and headed back toward the trail, with stops along the way at  1) A food mart in the gas station (where I made sure to get more Motrin for Bill.  So far he seemed to be walking normally–whew!).  When I got back outside to where Bill was waiting with our packs  (basic thruhiker courtesy–NEVER take your pack into a store!),  a friendly guy named Jim came over and asked if we were thru hikers.  Yessiree, we sure are now!  Turned out that Jim has hiked almost the whole PCT and loved every bit of it!

Then 2) We all walked next door to McD’s, where in the outdoor seating area there were 3 more thru hikers–Teal, Sally and Chris, fresh off the trail and very intent on wolfing down the biggest breakfast platters that McD’s has got.  (Hey, that’s exactly what we were doing yesterday!)  Bill and I ordered an early lunch, then we had fun talking to the other guys.  Teal said that really IS his name (not a trail name) and I asked him if he’d ever watched the sci-fi show “Stargate”.  No, he hadn’t.  I told him that was too bad, because the show has an awesome character named Teal’c.  We had fun talking, and I had fun watching the trains going by on the other side of the highway, and we left the threesome debating whether to hike on or go to the motel.  (We did kind of rave about how great it was!).

As we walked on back to the PCT, I was watching Bill anxiously, but he seemed to be fine.  I was looking forward, though to getting “up close & personal” with some of the trains, since the trail does cross the tracks.  But first we had to go under the highway via a long, darkish tunnel with a creek running through it.  Then came a bit of “jungly stuff” and rock formations (they are part of the famous “Mormon Rocks”).  Finally we reached the tracks and went across.  I was REALLY hoping a train would come along so I could watch it go by from right up close, but no luck.  (By the way, in case you wonder why I get goofy over trains, it’s because an entire room of the house where I grew up was devoted to a model railroad setup where my brother and dad spent many happy hours.) 

The trail continued to climb, with more views of the snowy San Gabriel mountains ahead.  But the temperature got hotter and hotter!  Eventually we reached Swarthout Canyon and halfway across–surprise!  A water cache!  We topped up our water bottles–it was still 15 miles to the next water.  Climbing out of the canyon was a long, hot haul, but soon we had snowy mountain views again.  By 7:30 pm, we decided to call it a day.  A 3,500 foot climb in heat kind of does tire you out, especially when you are just leaving a resupply with 5 days worth of food!  We carefully “bearbagged” our food high in a tree, since the newspaper at the motel said the local bears were getting very brazen, walking right into town and raiding garbage cans.   No way is a bear getting OUR food tonight!

May 30, Mon.–.4 mile–end of So.CA C

Mon., May 30    Miles today: .4         Miles so far: 342.1         So. CA C

We REALLY “slept in” this morning–till 8:00 am!  Then it was less than half a mile of a very pretty walk in Crowder Canyon, till we reached the frontage road for I-15.  We got a good laugh out of the sign there which directs hikers to the PCT–AND to McDonalds! 

Hikers, hang a right here!

Hikers, hang a right here!

So to McD’s we went–and ate like pigs.  We were careful to sit outside, though–our clothes are not exactly pristine.  They smell of “eau de trail” even though we did take “baths” yesterday!  But when we started up the road toward the motel for our next resupply, poor Bill could hardly walk at all.  His right calf muscle just cramped up and was brick-hard.  We went at a snail’s pace the half mile to the Economy Inn, and Bill put on his bathing suit and headed straight for the hot tub, where he sat till his leg uncramped.  While he was soaking, I was doing our laundry.

The Economy Inn folks are VERY hiker-friendly!  They have a hiker register in the lobby, our resupply box was waiting for us, and they gave us a very nice room.  And the hot showers!   Ahh!!  It feels so wonderful to be CLEAN.  Once Bill’s leg uncramped,  we spent the rest of the day resting, writing, eating a big taco salad each, and drinking lots of water and juice.  It was a great “nero” day.   This is why we held off coming in yesterday, because then we’d have been rushed and couldn’t really rest as much.   And it was really nice to have some time to read in the little lightweight New Testament we’d brought along, without being so incredibly tired that it was hard to concentrate.  Then we went to bed early.  We are going to get as MUCH resting time as we can before getting back ontrail tomorrow!