Day 36 - Cajon Pass

I slept really well, cowboy camping next to Matt and Tanya.  I didn't notice any tossing or turning in the night and neither did they.  I guess we were too tired to notice.

The morning was pretty, looking down on the valley you could see low clouds over the landscape.  I was excited about getting to Cajon Pass, everyone we passed or that passed us was talking about McDonald's.  The only vegan things on their menu are the side salad and the oatmeal, so I wasn't excited.  They put beef extract in their fries.  Yuck!  I was looking forward to Del Taco.  I've never eaten there but they have beans and avocado, so I'm all in.

I started out in the lead and I was setting a good pace.  We all had our headphones in, me and Tanya listening to music and Matt listening to a Great Course about Ancient American cultures.  I was booking along at 3 mph at first.  Blisteringly fast, as Matt put it.  They mostly kept up, but we stopped a couple times anyway.  It was about 8 miles to Cajon Junction.  The trail meandered through some beautiful landscape.  I traded lead worth Matt and Tanya a few times.  Tanya was in the lead going into the canyon before Cajon Pass.

Cajon Pass is pretty much the place where a highway meets the interstate that connects LA and Las Vegas.  There are a few gas stations, two that have fast food restaurant in them, a Best Western and a McDonald's.  We saw the interstate from the canyon.  It's so weird to come out of a lovely canyon with a stream, and see this huge interstate roaring along ahead.  Jarring to then walk towards it and eventually over it on the highway.  There was a sign for the McDonald's on the trail.  McDonald's 0.4 mi.

Weird.  Even weirder was a truck that pulled up on the side of the road, a lady jumped out, took off her pants and then started pulling in some luggage in the back, complaining to the man driving that it was too heavy.  We just kept walking.  None of our business what was going on there.  I got a banana at the gas station next to the McDonald's, and an orange juice in there.  The man at the table next to us told us about edible plants along he trail, saying the oxalic acid in them was good for your muscles.  He gave us his computer to use and look up plants while he used the bathroom.  It was interesting, but I'm not likely to start picking trailside plants and eating them anytime soon.

Next, we ventured to the Del Taco.  I got an Epic Steak and Guac Burrito with beans instead of steak, and no sour cream.  It has fries inside it!  Del Taco's big selling point is that you can get both tacos and fries there.  I thought it was better than Taco Bell, but it's still fast food.

The other perk of Del Taco was the outdoor shaded patio, which also had an outlet and a faucet right there.  We plugged in all our devices and left Matt to guard them.  Tanya and I got the resupply boxes from Best Western and we got sandwiches from Subway for dinner tonight.  Then we packed our bags with way too much food.  It's only 2 days hike to Wrightwood, and I probably have 3-4 days of food.  Too much!  Plus, we have 22 miles of walking before our next water source, so we've all got 5 liters of water.  I figure my pack weighs about 32 pounds right now.  So heavy!

Leaving Del Taco with our heavy packs was not fun.  Back across the highway over the interstate, onto the trail.  The trail goes up from Cajon Pass, winding it's way through some funky looking sandstone rocks.  The trail went up a ridge and it became so windy.  Steep inclines on both sides and a wind that felt strong enough to knock you off.  Tanya said she was crouching trying to get as low as possible.  Neither of us likes heights, but I'm starting to get used to these windy ridges and windy cliffs.  It's part of the challenge, adds some excitement to the day.  It was nice to make it off that ridge.

As the sun got lower, we came to some grassy slopes where the grasses undulated in the light wind, shining golden in the sunlight.  There was a large black beetle being carried away by ants.  It was still alive, struggling to escape.  Soon we reached a flatter area with lots of camping and set up for the night.  Lots of people had passed us, so many moving much faster than we are.  I wonder if they noticed the beetle carried by ants.  We did 13.4 miles today, good for a day with so much town activity.


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