Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The McMotivator - Day 32 (5/6/2014)

Day 32
Mile 315.6 to mile 332.4
16.8 Miles

We had a good day today. The morning started out much better that yesterday's morning did. There was no rushing and nobody snapped at anybody. Wool!

It was a cold and windy morning though. The sun would peek out from behind a cloud once in a while to warm our bodies but then hide again as quickly as it came. This caused us to do the jacket dance. When the sun came out the jackets came off, when it went away the jackets had to go back on. It was caused frequent stops but was necessary. 

We crossed a seasonal stream an hour after starting and drank as much water as we could and filled up our water bottles for later. As we sat there filtering, two hikers, possibly a couple, passed by and chatted with us for a minute or two. Their names are Smuggles and Heatwave. No idea how they got those names.

We were able to bust out 8 miles before our first major break. (I think we just might be getting better at this.) We both needed something to eat bad, so we laid out our sleeping pads next to the trail and dumped out what little food we had in our food bags and picked what sounded the best. I had a rice packet with crackers and chips mixed into it and Mandie had tuna with crackers and chips mixed in. We also tried a Starbucks Iced coffee drink mix which was pretty good. 

Back on our feet we descended into an industrial area, the Cedar Springs Dam. It was interesting to be walking around this area since we have been in the sticks for so many days. We had to do a small bit of road walking to get around their huge spillway. It was a massive slide for a metric ton of water to flow down. I don't know when that much water flows there but I bet it would be pretty cool to see. 

After the spillway we ran into a little trail magic. There wasn't much left in the cooler other than some bottles of water but that was okay. We drank a bottle of water and signed the log book. 

From there we ascended for a little bit. When we crested, we had a wonderful view of Lake Silverwood. I had never heard of this lake or seen it before. The lake is huge and has lots of alcoves that would make perfect private beaches. It would be nice to return some day and kayak in and out of the alcoves. The backdrop for the lake was beautiful green mountains with very dark clouds looming over them. It reminded me a lot of Oregon. 

We walked along the perimeter of the lake slowly descending until we hugged the shoreline. We would follow the shoreline for quite some time. At one point I happened to notice a black rattle snake laying across the trail. He didn't seem to notice that we had walked up on him so I clacked my trekking poles together to get his attention. It worked. He rattled his tail for us and started slithering away into the bushes. I watched him for a moment to make sure he was going his own way before walking by him. I got a couple feet away from him and Mandie lets out a big scream and is jumping down the trail towards me. I guess, when she went to pass by the snake it whipped back around with his head in the air all coiled up ready to strike. She did not get bit but did sorta over extend her knee while she was getting away. 

We finally reached a nice picnic area called Cleghorn. Not long after we got under cover did it start raining. It didn't rain a lot but it rained off and on long enough to keep us there for a couple of hours. We took that opportunity to have something to eat, wash some dishes, and use their facilities. A real toilet!

Photo by Ryan Carpenter, from
We waited the storm out and eventually got back on the trail. We wanted to do another couple of miles to bring our daily mileage to 15 and get closer to McDonalds. There is a McDonalds not too far off the trail at the Cajon Pass that all hikers stop at. Everyone on the trail in this area is pretty much doing the mileage they have to do today to line themselves up to hit McD's tomorrow. It is our motivator. 

As we hiked towards our camp site for the night we passed by a class of school children and their chaperones. Apparently the teachers bring their class out here every year to celebrate a co-worker who did the PCT a while back. They were from a school in Pasadena called, Sequoia, and they were the nicest bunch of kids. They were totally interested in what we were doing and asked tons of questions. They even invited us back to their camp for burritos. If their camp wasn't back down the hill we just climbed I think we would have taken them up on it. 

Our camp in on a mountain top overlooking Cajon Pass to one side and Lake Silverwood on the other. It is freezing cold up here and it hopefully won't get too windy cuz we are exposed. We can hear the sound of trains off in the distance which reminds me of my friend Robert, a big fan of trains. We also just heard what sounded to us like a cat fight, hopefully a Bobcat and not a Mountain Lion but we aren't sure. We also aren't sure what it was fighting. We should have no problem falling asleep now.