Date: Sunday, 14 May 2017
Start: Campsite by trail at Mile 334.0, 3700 ft
Finish: Interstate 15 crossing at Cajon Pass, Mile 342, 2995 ft
Daily Miles: 8.0 PCT, 2.0 other
Total PCT Miles: 342.0
Weather: Warm and sunny, though with cool winds
Accommodation: Best Western motel room
Breakfast: McDonalds deluxe breakfast
Lunch: Tuna sub and two choc chip cookies
Dinner: Burrito, rice & beans, and ice-cream
Aches: Blister site a little tender
Highlight: Lazy day with too much food
Lowlight: None really
Pictures: Click here
Map: Click here for Google Map
A wind came up during the night and I feared my tent pegs would be dragged out of the ground by the stronger gusts. It was very noisy, making sleep difficult, but the pegs held their ground and by morning all was calm. I was on the trail by 6:30am, planning to walk the eight or so miles to Interstate 15 and the McDonalds without a break. Initially, the trail was relatively uninteresting, but nearer the highway, there were some fantastic views over Cajon Pass, which is the main traffic corridor east out of Los Angeles. The power of America was on show, with seemingly endless freight trains, whistling mournfully, travelling slowly up or down the Pass dragged by up to five locomotives, a freeway loaded with eighteen wheelers and other traffic, high tension power lines and even a pipeline, all visible in differing directions from the great viewpoints the trail offered as it descended into the Pass.
The last mile or two was through the pretty Crowder Canyon, before the trail suddenly emerged by the freeway on a service road that was part of the original Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. Half a mile up this road could be seen the fabled McDonalds and I arrived in time for a 9:00am breakfast. While I was eating more and more PCT hikers showed up and soon were occupying at least half of the restaurant’s tables. There were greetings for trail friends, but it was mostly quiet conversations as the hikers savoured the food and drink, and the time seated and inside. None of us were in a hurry to leave. I had a second breakfast roll and a milkshake while catching up on email and reading my book.
At around noon, I wandered another half mile up the road to the Best Western motel on the other side of the busy freeway and booked myself a room. There’s no town here, just some fast food joints, service stations and the motel servicing travellers. My room wasn’t going to be ready until 1:30, so I adjourned to a nearby Subway for some lunch. When I returned, there were another six PCT hikers also getting rooms. The next section of trail involves climbing about 5000 ft in 22 miles with no water available en route, so I think many hikers decide a night in a motel is preferable to tackling this after relaxing at McDonalds for half a day.
After checking in, I used the guest laundry to wash all of my clothes and then shopped for some snacks and had a quiet afternoon on planning and admin while watching a movie.
I’ve decided to try and hike the whole 22+ miles to the first water tomorrow, so will leave very early, catching a McDonalds breakfast on my way out of town.