a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 335.6 to 356.7. Bushcamp to bushcamp.
We get up with the alarm clock. The sleeping bag is cozy enough, but today we are so motivated to get going. And why is that? It‘s McDonalds day! There is a famous McDonalds 0.4 miles off trail at Cajon Pass and we‘ve been looking forward to this day from the beginning. Or actually, already back in Switzerland we were talking about it and looking it up on the map.
We do the 6 miles really quickly, are daydreaming about everything we are going to order and are there by 08.30am. Together with half the American population. Okay that‘s an exageration. But I mean, seriously, how can a fast food restaurant be so busy at this time of the day?! But anyway, we get a booth, throw our packs in it, fully aware of how we come across (stinky, dirty and hobo-like), find a plug to charge our electronic devices and then start to put in our order into some machine. Wait a second. Where are the Cheeseburgers? The Big Macs? The McChicken I‘ve been craving for days? We can‘t believe it, they exclusively serve breakfast food only until 10.30am! First we consider staying and waiting for another two hours as it‘s really hot outside already anyway, but it‘s so unbelievably crowded in there and now fast filling up with a Korean tour bus (the passengers taking selfies with a selfie stick at McDonalds...) that we decide to get out of there and hit the trail.
After we fill up all our water bottles for the upcoming dry stretch (29 miles uphill), we hike out of Cajon Pass with Lars and Isha. It‘s so hot, there‘s no shade. This desert can be so cruel and merciless. Beautiful nonetheless. Look at those pictures!
After two hours we stop for lunch under literally the first tree providing shade. All four of us then take a lengthy nap and we only get going again around 4.30pm, fully intending to hike another 14 miles. The reason for this ambitious goal being my birthday the next day and trying to get into Wrightwood as early as possible to have some kind of relaxation and celebration on this day. After a couple of miles we realize we are not gonna make it and set another goal for the night. It‘s also a rather sketchy section and gets quite scary when we end up hiking in complete darkness. But we take it easy and slowly make our way up the mountain. At one point I see some lights pointing at me and I‘m thinking „why is this hiker with the flashlight camped all the way down there“, only to realize a second later that it must be some animal staring at us. Whoaaa that‘s scary. We don‘t know what it is (mountain lion, coyote,...), but keep a steady pace and walk away from it.
Finally at 10pm we arrive at our campsite. We‘ve never been more relieved to find it! Quickly we set up our tent under the full moon and soon are fast asleep. 13 miles to Wrightwood tomorrow. Looks like I should be able to celebrate my 31st birthday with a delicious meal, clean clothes and a nice, hot shower (I don‘t think we‘ve ever been as dirty as today)!