Friday, May 9, 2014

Day 32: Mile 315.6 - Mile 332.4

Hooray! We made up the mile from yesterday and a little more!

I slept well in our little wind break camp spot and actually woke a little late. We broke camp and it was cold out with large moisture laden clouds looming in the distance.

We set out on the trail bound for water a couple miles away. The wind was whipping cold as we followed the crest of the mountain. We passed a couple breaking camp and said hello before dropping into a little fern grotto littered with Jimson weed pods. These green, spiky seed pods look like you shouldn't mess with them and in fact they are toxic. I have a couple of friends who have eaten these seeds and either ended up in the hospital or in jail while on a trip they'd not bargained for.

We arrived at the water source called Grass Creek and filtered enough for the next 6 miles or so to Cleghorn picnic area. We also cameled up, and for some reason we spent the next couple miles peeing every ten minutes! The couple we passed breaking camp now passed us and we said our hellos and goodbyes.We rolled out of Grass Creek and continued to follow the crest.

Somewhere around mile 320 or so it hit me...the hiker hunger. Now, this is something I've not ever had before and I have real world eating issues. This was not the 'I can eat whatever I want so I'll eat everything' type hunger or the 'oh that sounds tasty I'll eat it' type hunger it was stomach like a hollow drum, visions of food flashing in my brain and everything I did eat while walking was instantly incinerated by my metabolism. I looked at my phone and saw it was 1.7 to a paved road and told Josh that was where I wanted to stop.

I hiked in zombie mode until we hit that road and we sat on the curb to find something to eat. The wind was horrible so we sought shelter behind a hill. I don't even remember what I ate, crackers and tuna or something but I was still hungry after it.

We set our new goal as Cleghorn picnic area for our next break as that was our next water source. The trail dropped down to hwy 173 and followed the road thru a weird, but intriguing industrial area. We found some trail magic in the form of an ice chest with some water in it and drank one bottle between us and signed the register.

The trail climbed for a while to a ridge line and when we topped out we took in spectacular view of Silverwood Lake. I've never been here before and it was beautiful! The wind blew cold and storm like so we did our admiring as we walked. We rounded the lake on the crest of the mountain and the smell of the flowers and sensations of the lake were overwhelmingly familiar and reminded me of being little with my dad at lake Havasu.

Let me go off topic here for a second, if you don't mind. It's been interesting; my brain on this hike, so far. Honestly, I thought I would be walking off the issues with my marriage and recent divorce, but the majority of my thoughts are focused on my childhood. I can only hypothesize that I am mentally and physically beat down most days and that causes me to resort to the 'I want my mommy' tantrum type child state of mind, thus resulting in those memories surfacing.
Who knows.
It's just kind of trippy!

I have also been thinking a lot about how things would be if Josh weren't here. Ever since Little Bear camp, when Josh asked me if I thought I'd be further along on the trail without him, it got me thinking. I don't think I would be on the trail at all if he weren't here. I think it would have been too overwhelming for me. Even now, when my feet are healed and I'm starting to get my legs, my mind is on over drive and I don't know if I could deal with that on my own.
I didn't understand why so many of my fellow hikers were quitting when they weren't injured but now I understand. I would be terribly lonely, full of self doubt and longing to be in the safe and familiar. So much so that I don't think I would want to continue, life long dream or not. It takes a special kind of person to do this alone. I tip my hat to them, for sure.

Now, back on topic...

We neared Cleghorn picnic area and the weather went to total shit. The trail dumped us at a dirt road above the grounds and we hiked the short distance down to a covered area with several picnic benches. No sooner did we get situated did it start to rain and thunder. We high fived at our good fortune today and cooked some top ramen. The wind blew cold and we put on all of our clothes while trying to figure out what to do. The bathrooms were looking mighty dry and warm...hmmmm.

We opted to hang out until 5pm and see what the sky had in store. It began to clear up and we packed our gear and headed out. The trail climbed thru fields of flowers and grasses that were open and sparkling with the fresh rain. It was beautiful! We met with a group of young kids with their teachers and they asked if we were thru hikers. We said yes, and they asked us many questions and invited us to dinner at their camp site. We were extraordinarily tempted to go back with them, but we made ourself press on.

We put in a couple more uphill miles and the trail was not looking promising for camp sites. We had no choice but to keep climbing. On the last big uphill push out of the valley someone wrote 'you got this' in the sand which made me smile and push on. My faith inhumanity is being restored a bit today!

We arrived at the top of the canyon wall and took in the views of Cajon Pass. McDonalds is down there!! We found a tiny space to pitch next to the road and dove inside to try and get warm while eating, again, and watching the sunset.

Right now, it's 9:30 and I'm FREEZING! We just heard something screaming in the canyon that sounded like a cat fight and I cannot stop sneezing! (Cat fight and sneezing not related).

I am feeling hopeful that I can do this. I hiked all day today with no tape or bandages on my feet and the whole of my body, while sore, feels awesome. Tomorrow we hike 9 or so miles to McDonalds at Cajon Pass and EAT ALL THE THINGS!!!

until then, goodnight!


  1. Do it now or forever regret it! We're following you and cheering and praying for you.

  2. Hi Mandie! What an adventure of a lifetime...My son hiked alone in 1998. He was 24.. He did meet others on the trail and formed lifelong friendships along the way. I was born in Palm Springs and am familiar with the area. We moved to oregon in December. Happy and safe trails to you..