Day 20 – 335.4 to I-15 (Maccas) and Wrightwood
My alarm goes off bright and early at 4:45am but today I’m not interested in that. I snooze for another hour and finally get on the trail at a late 6:30am.
Chicken fat and Rideordieh are camped a little ways down the trail, also having slow lazy mornings. Theirs is because they want to arrive at Maccas in time for lunch, not breakfast.
It’s a lovely brisk morning, climbing up for about 3 miles before the descent into the valley where the PCT crosses I-15. I don’t stop for the 6.8ish miles amd make good time- feeling good about the possibility of these bigger miles becoming normal for me!
Another PCT institution today – McDonalds. I’m not really interested as there’s not much for me to eat there, but they do have power to charge my phone (yay!!) And flushing toilets (woohoo!!) And rubbish bins (yeehah!!) All in a lovely airconditioned box containing tables and chairs (yeeeow!!). So for that I am excited and walk the extra .4miles 🙂
There are no other hikers there yet when I arrive as a lot time their arrival for the end of the breakfast menu and start of lunch so they can order from both!
A group arrives that look way too clean to be hikers; they stayed at the Best Western Hotel across the hwy. This seems to be a bit of a crossroads for hikers as some choose to hitch ahead or take off for nearby homes for some r&r. The clean group are off to Santa Monica for a couple of zeros! Lucky buggers.
I get caught up chatting to hikers coming and going as I sip my iced tea. I wander to the Chevron and buy some random food things for extra snacks. Wamder back and chat to more hikers. Hiking royalty in the form of Tuna Helper arrives – he is on course for the PCT speed record! I can’t believe how fresh and clean he looks. He is on day 7 to my 20… eeps! I need to hike faster!
I’m procrastinating because this section looks terrible. There is a horrible plant called the Poodle Dog Bush that leaves you with a terrible rash if you come in contact. It flourishes atter any bushfire, and the next 19 miles ahead are choked with it. It is also a 22 mile dry stretch, on a hot day with a questionable water source at the end. A couple borrowy sharpie to make a sign to hitch into Wrightwood – the next little town which would bypass some of the Poodle Dog. I load my pack with 5L of water, finally extract myself from the golden arches of doom and wander up the hill towards the Best Western to check out the hiker box as I’ve lost my beanie and broken my spork. Just as I’m crossing the hwy the couple gets a hitch in front of me. A mini mental battle ensues as I weigh up the pros of the mental fortitude I could gain from this section vs the danger of no water and the stupid PDB. I’m still a week behind my schedule so ultimately time wins and I jump in. If I have to skip anything on the PCT I want it to be desert, and not any of the gorgeous counrey further north.
Our fabulous driver Joanne lives in Wrightwood and is a hiker and all round awesome lady for collecting us! We’re dropped off at the hardware store where I pick up my stikpic, a new spork, a new beanie and a headnet as the bugs are driving me crazaaazy.
Out the back of the store Jordon and Chris (the couple whose hitch I hitched in on) are sorting out their packages they just collected and I show off my latest purchases. I explainy new beanie as I lost mine. “What colour was it” they ask “blue” I reply “Northface?” Yep. It’s in Chris’ pack! They found it on the bushes near the lake yesterday! I’ve already bought the new one so I donate the other to Chris’ cold head 🙂
The hardware store has amazing directory with local trail angels you can stay with. One has dogs!! I take down the number and wander up the street to buy food for the next section. I get stopped twice on the 50m walk – once to ask if I need a ride to the trail, and another to ask about a particular section of the trail. I can’t get over how awesome locals are to hikers! It’s an amazing display of community that is so very very appreciated. Outside the grocery store I get stopped by a young boy Luke and his mum. Luke (trail name Atlas!) presents me with an atlas and asks me to sign my name over the appropriate city. He’s very excited to collect a signature from another Australian (there are 2 others in his book). The book is covered with signatures and am astonished to find out he’s only been collecting for a couple of weeks.
I hitch on Little foot and Ravens hitch again as they’ve called a trail angel with a dog! YAY doggies! We arrive and there are 2 dogs, 2 cats and a bunny! Yay all the animals!
It’s a nice chill night playing with animals, and drinking a magnificent fortified dessert wine that our angel Kathy has made. I introduce them to the magic of icecream with dessert wine (I found some choc vegan icecream at the market ). Yuuuuum!
I head back to the market and buy a whole bunch of kale, spinach, blueberries, bananas to make smoothies with in the morning. She has a vitamix and a dehydrator so we bond over food chat 🙂 She has chia and coconut oil too so I’m sooo excited about brekkie. Ridiculous. But yay 🙂
The night is polished off with a little more wine and to kill a mockingbird. Beautiful.