Location- Side of Mount Baldy
Distance Traveled Today- 15.4 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 357.2 miles
Weather/Temp- cloudy, 70s 60s
Pain level- low
Days without shower- 1
We hiked out of Cajon Pass today, but not before one last stop off at McDonald’s. They actually have sweet tea there, but I believe it’s brewed with brown sugar. It’s definitely very sweet, but lacks in the refreshing “tea taste.”
Right off the bat, after picking up the trail, we had to travel about a tenth of a mile through an underpass tunnel that went beneath Interstate -15. It looked pitch black, with no end in sight from the outside, but once you got in, it was light enough to see everything in the tunnel.
We weaved between rocks and by train tracks, as we walked up and down ridges, heading westward. There were quite a few lizards again, and I managed to easily catch another horny toad. I’m always reminded of the movie “ol’ Yeller” when I see and catch them.
Five miles from the Interstate, we reached a “water cache” left by trail angels in some kind of wooden lock box, with the doors swinging out towards you. We opened it to find that all the water jugs were empty, but what wasn’t empty, was the rat nest built in between the jugs. There was a fat rat just sitting in the nest, not moving. I leaned in to take a picture of it, but before I could, the rat jumped past my leg, out of the lock box, landing directly in Katana’s path. I don’t think the poor thing made it three more steps before little CatFox had landed on him, snatched him up, and shook him like a polaroid picture. Katana tried to run away with the rat as I lunged for her, and luckily, I was too quick for her. I grabbed her up and pried her jaws apart, letting the rat fall to the ground… it didn’t have an ounce of life left in it. Katana was struggling like crazy to get out of my arms and down to her prize, so I grabbed the corpse by the tail and slung it into some bushes several yards away, before setting the little killer down. Try as she might, she couldn’t track it back down, and we moved on.
The extra day of rest did Katana a lot of good. She tore up the trail today, without me having to carry her even once. Although the day was all uphill, it was ridiculously gradual…boringly gradual. I would say the highlight came at the end of the day, when we pushed into and above the clouds. We were walking along a stretch of trail that was incredibly steep, above and below us; the trail itself slanted, giving you this strange feeling of walking at a lean. To our left, thick clouds above, below, and around us. Above the highest clouds, more than ten thousand feet high, and also to our left, was the snow covered Mount Baldy. The top of this mountain seemed to be looming towards us through the clouds. That illusion, coupled with the feeling of already leaning on this uncomfortably narrow stretch of trail, made for one of the strangest sensations I’ve ever felt while hiking; like I was floating in the sky, with a massive mountain about to crash on top of me. I don’t think the pictures we took could ever do it justice…
We called it a day near some oaks, where I was able to hang my hammock. We have about twelve miles into the town of Wrightwood tomorrow, where we hope to get some decent food, then get back to the trail and put in a few more miles.
I ran out of food for Katana today, because they didn’t have any at the gas stations. It’s funny, the “convenience” stores out east usually, conveniently carry some kind of dog food. Anyways, it’s a beef jerky diet for Katana until about halfway through tomorrow, she’s not complaining…
Go to my book, “Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail”