Grass Valley Creek(318) to High Voltage Tower/Dirt Road(338.1) 20.2 Miles
The nice thing about camping by 24 other hikers was there was zero chance of oversleeping this morning. Everyone woke up when the first person began packing up. I was on the trail by 6 am. The weather has been very pleasant during the day which has allowed us to take fewer breaks. After three weeks on the trail I still don't feel like I have my climbing legs yet, but I do have more endurance. I do my best miles early in the day and have consistently been hiking 3 mph for the first 3-4 hours. Today was a fun day with spectacular scenery.
Around mile 6, I came across trail magic in the woods. Somebody had left a cooler full of fresh fruit. I had to restrain myself from eating an entire carton of strawberries. I respectfully took 4 and left 12 for the people behind me. I also enjoyed a plum, but somehow overlooked the bananas. Dang, bananas are my favorite.
I had to walk along a paved road off and on for a mile or two. Usually whenever we get around roads the trail can become difficult to find. Somebody ahead of me has been very creative leaving marks to help guide the way.
Once I finally left the road I had a small, but steep uphill climb. At the very top I was shocked to come across a huge lake. It was enormous. I hiked around it for close to five miles or more. I've never been to Hawaii, but nontheless that's what I was reminded of.
I took and extended break at mile 12 to let the rest of my group catch up. I found a spot with picnic benches and took off my socks and shoes to let my feet breath. I love how fast everything dries out in the low humidity. On the AT I was always slightly damp. The major decision of today was whether we should push into town tonight or camp short and get in early tomorrow. If I'm going to pay for a hotel room I like to get my money's worth. Getting into town after five seems like such a waste. I made up my mind to camp a few miles short and take a nero tomorrow. I shouldn't really call it a town. Cajon Pass is a McDonalds, Best Western, and convenience store located .1 miles off of the trail. Everyone else seemed determined to make it to McDonalds tonight. I took my time hiking the last 8 miles before camping.
I thought I could find a spot to camp 3.6 miles from town, but my choices were limited. I sat down for awhile to figure out what to do. I didn't want to go much farther because I would get to close to I-10. It's never a good idea to camp to close to the interstate. The road noise keeps me up and I feel vulnerable that close to an interstate. As I was trying to make a decision 10-15 hikers went past. People were pretty disappointed. Word had leaked out that McDonalds closes at 5 pm. There was no way they could make it in time. Outro decided to push on though. Evac, Hawkeye, and Uturn decided to stick with my plan. A nero tomorrow with McDonalds, Subway, and Del Taco probably helped to seal the deal. Our only option for camping is on a dirt road beneath a high voltage electricity tower. I truly feel like a hobo tonight. We will get up early to hike the 3.6 miles into town and feast on Mickey D's. I'll be dreaming of greasy food tonight.
When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.
- Travels in Alaska by John Muir, 1915, chapter 1, page 5.