170513 – A bit of a grind

Day:  020
Date:  Saturday, 13 May 2017
Start:  Campsite by trail and Deep Creek at Mile 310.0, 3318 ft
Finish:  Campsite by trail at Mile 334.0
Daily Miles:  24.0
Total PCT Miles:  334.0
Weather:  Warm and sunny
Accommodation:  Tent
     Breakfast:  Muesli
     Lunch:  Gorp
     Dinner:  Rehydrated chilli macaroni
Aches:  Blister under front of left foot
Highlight:  None really
Lowlight:  Getting my first blister.  I wear inner (liner) socks under my heavy duty hiking socks, but they have been wearing out at a rapid rate.  So at an outdoor store back in Big Bear, where they had no inner socks, I bought the thinnest pair of hiking socks they had, a new kind made from bamboo (if you believe the advertising).  I wore them the two days before today, but felt they were making my feet hot.  Despite reverting to a holey old pair of inner socks today, the damage was done, I fear.  No more bamboo socks.  I have some new inner socks waiting for me at Wrightwood in a couple of days.
Pictures:  Click here

Map:  Click here for Google Map


I was away at 6:30am, unsure of how far I would go today.  There was some kind of lakeside picnic area on Silverwood Lake in 19 miles, but I would be there by mid-afternoon, earlier than I usually stop.  Also, given it is a Saturday, I’m concerned the picnic area/campsite may not be very quiet.  It would also leave nearly 14 miles tomorrow to Cajon Pass and the PCT-famous McDonalds located at a major freeway intersection in the Pass.  A more appealing option was to go to the next feasible camping spot, likely to be after 23 miles, and then reward myself for three solid days hiking with McDonalds AND an afternoon and night at the Best Western motel located nearby.  I decided that I would see how I felt when I reached the picnic area.

The first hour of hiking took me to the end of the Deep Creek canyon and then there was some scrappy hiking beneath a dam wall until the trail climbed onto the side of a mountain range and then followed the contours for its length.  There had been a fire in the area, which meant blackened trees and earth and no shelter from the sun.  To the right could be seen a large town in the distance and nearer were roads, cars and houses.  There were some day hikers out on the trail, and even a couple of female runners, giving the day a Saturday feel.  I made reasonable time, but my motivation was low today for some reason.  Maybe it was partly due to the hotspot developing under the front of my left foot.  It had started yesterday and was getting worse.  But I also think that there have to be less-interesting parts of a trail this long, and being near civilisation meant there was some graffiti here and there, and the place looked more worn and less wild, of course.

In the afternoon, the trail climbed to follow the length of the man-made Silverwood Lake, which was being heavily used on a beautiful weekend afternoon.  People were fishing, picnicking on sandy beaches, racing around in speed boats and jet skis, and swimming from the main beach.  It all seemed a bit surreal to a passing thru-hiker.  The trail didn’t actually go through the picnic area as expected, and my decision about how far to go for the day was made for me.  Of course, I could have walked back to the picnic area, but couldn’t be bothered.

After another hour and a half of mostly climbing away from the Lake, I refilled my water at a small stream and 15 minutes later found a spot just big enough for my tent beside the trail.  Places to camp on this section are in short supply, so I was happy with my find.  More so, when another ten hikers passed by while I was eating my dinner, all looking for somewhere to stop.

I’m still close to civilisation, and can hear the distant rumble of traffic and frequent train whistles on what must be a major freight route.  But, I can also hear an owl hooting on the hill above me.

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