335 – 349.8
i wake up early easily, today is mcdonalds day & we’ve decided to stay in cajon pass for the night since there’s a best western with a pretty good hiker rate & laundry included. i’m so looking forward to rest & clean sheets & hot food. what will i even order? while i pack up i think about milkshakes & mcmuffins & orange juice. who am i? the seven miles down hill swag & over & around cliffsides fly & so do we. a hillside is covered in pink- we later learn this is residue from the foam used to put out wildfires.
we pass five gallon jugs of water stashed in a black bin & i silently thank whoever put it there. the day is hot already & i’m grateful that we started so early. even though it’s barely ten the sounds of the freeway & the accompanying trash are welcome because they mean air conditioning! and real bathrooms! and humans!
pebbles & nick roll into the mcdonalds soon after us & we post up in a booth near the outlets & soon boots & young gun & wet dog & butcher & sticks & bailey & rob are there too & the whole mcdonalds is teaming with hikers & there are packs everywhere. boots shows off the prickly pear tattoo that young gun gave him & it actually looks really good! we have bad news from rob & bailey about the best western where we’d planned on staying. they stayed there last night & apparently they didn’t have hot water?? we deliberate for a while. we’re both disappointed- we’d been so looking forward to showers & laundry & clean white sheets but it seems like everyone’s pushing forward to wrightwood & i feel kind of lost. after sink laundry & a bacon egg & cheese biscuit & orange juice i feel a little better & we agree to share a room in wrightwood tomorrow night with rob & bailey. that’s just over 26 miles away & there’s no water for the first 22 of them & right in the middle is a 14 mile climb up blue ridge. cool!
we trudge the .6 miles along the freeway to the subway for sandwiches to pack out for dinner & it’s miserably hot & dusty. there’s trash everywhere, why is there trash everywhere? on the walk we agree to be out by 4 & also that we’re doing the right thing. it’s been intoxicating being surrounded by all of the people we’ve been hiking around but i’m glad to have a minute alone with pepa. i have to laugh though as we hold hands in the dust of the freeway.
as it starts to cool down we hike out with patchwork (she clutches an icy paper cup of coke), loaded down with five liters of water each (that’s 11 pounds, y’all). we gape at the tatouin landscape. it feels good to have been first in & first out of the mcdonalds even though it was hard to leave. patchwork’s guidebook says to expect very limited camping up on the ridge & as the sun dips below the ridge we realize how accurate that is. patchwork drops off after about five miles, she’ll cowboy camp in a rocky dry creekbed. pepa turns on his headlamp & we push on. “let’s manifest a campsite,” he says, & we round a bend & below the trail about ten feet is an extended rocky spit looking out over where we’d come from. it’s perfect. i set up our shelter by the red light of my headlamp & then crouch in the dirt & eat my over the top delicious sandwich staring out at the ribbons of light that are freeways & the distant city grid. “this is my favorite dinner spot i’ve had on trail,” i say & it turns out that it’s also my favorite place to sleep.