Miles hiked: 22.6
|Brutal Morning Sun
|Bring on the Sun
|Rest in Shade
I covered the next 6.3 miles in 2 hours and 15 minutes, mostly out of fear of heat stroke. I only stopped twice for two pictures. When I arrived at I-15, I was never happier to see a McDonalds in my life. I’d made it to Cajon Pass, barely.
I walked into McDonalds where 12-15 other thru hikers were sitting. Anja had been there for over two hours. She said I looked worse than the previous day as she handed me a cup, which I went and filled with ice cold water. I sat there for thirty minutes and drank a couple liters of water and a very large Dr. Pepper. I also ate a ten piece nuggets, a hamburger and a large fries. French fries with so much salt tasted like heaven.
Suddenly my day got really interesting, when I looked outside and saw Legend walking up to McDonalds. Legend is a hiker who lives in Denver that I’ve been following via his blog and Facebook for a while. Last year, he hiked the triple crown in one calendar year. For those that may not know, that’s the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. He did that in ONE YEAR! He’s on a whole new 7000 mile adventure this year. He had come 34 miles from the Deep Creek hot spring that day. I immediately jumped up and introduced myself.
After about 20 minutes of conversation while he ate, Anja, Legend, and I walked to the Best Western. We all shared a room, showered, did laundry, and went to the hot tub. Beers were had, good conversation and stories were shared, and friendships were formed.
This day that started with me thinking about how to convey the things on the trail that are hard to get across with photos and writing. The smells, the heat, the feel of the hot Earth through your shoes, the little gnats that like to float right in front of your eyes while you walk, the dryness in the desert air that cracks your skin and solidifies anything in your nose, etc.
The middle of the day, for me, was a pure survival effort in the most real sense of the word survival. That was followed by the sharp contrast of being able to press a button in a fast food restaurant and have ICE CUBES!
Lastly, the day ended super strong with two great friends and the most fun I’ve had any night on trail yet.