May 4, 2017
Mile 310.18 – Mile 329.54
It was the perfect night for cowboy camping. It was warm and calm. The moon beamed down on our beach like a spotlight, and once it went down a glorious starshow appeared. Once I scrambled back up to the trail, I was hiking by 6am.
The morning hiking is always lovely. It’s cool and the first light of the day is beautiful. This morning, the trail wound around the ridge above Deep Creek, with occasional glimpses of the snowy mountains in the distance, glowing pink in the sunrise.
After a couple of miles, we crossed behind the Mojave Dam, and then had to ford Deep Creek. I took my shoes off and waded across. The water came up to my mid-thigh and felt lovely. Shortly after, I sat beside a small creek to collect water and eat my second breakfast. I’m seriously loving the overnight oats with peanut butter. It makes my morning every day.
After I left the creek, it was only 8am but I could already feel the heat of the day coming on. We had a big climb back up into the hills, and then continued winding around the side of the ridge. We were in a burn area again, so shade was non-existent. I found a bunch of hikers congregated around a small stream, but I didn’t need water so I kept moving. I knew there was more water in a couple of miles.
When I reached the next stream, I found a patch of shade to collapse in, and ate a bunch of snacks. I didn’t sit too long, because I knew we were going to get to a lake today and I was excited. When I managed to get moving again, the day had officially become brutally hot. As I pushed forward, I was occasionally hit in the face with a blast of heat that was reminiscent of opening an oven door. The air ahead wavered as heat rose from the earth. It was tough going. Thoughts of lemonade, ice cold beers, and margarita swimming pools danced through my head.
A couple miles from the lake, I got out a pack of sport beans and put in my headphones to listen to a podcast to help me push through. Gummies, Cougar, and Dr. McDirty are all super into podcasts, so I’ve been downloading some of their recommendations. If you have any favourites, let me know because I’ve really been enjoying them. The last couple of miles before the lake went through industrial yards and the side of a highway. I found a random cooler in the woods, and got super excited for trail magic, but it was almost empty inside. There was a somewhat sketchy looking bag of cut up cantaloupe, which I almost passed by, but ended up deciding looked okay. It tasted sooooo good. As I continued on, there was a hill on my left, and I knew the lake lay just on the other side. Finally, the trail started to climb, and when I crested the hill and saw the lake laid out before me, I almost cried. Words cannot describe how happy I was to be there. It was beautiful.
The trail wound down almost to water level, and there was a small beach accessible from the trail. I hurried down, stripped off my sweaty clothes, and dove in. It felt sooooo good. I ended up washing my clothes too, since it was so hot I didn’t even care if I ended up hiking out in damp clothes. I laid on the beach to eat my lunch. Gummies joined me, but other than that it was a little private beach. The view across the lake was awesome. It was almost perfect, except for the fact that there was no shade. There was a picnic area about a mile ahead, so we packed up and headed there.
View from our private beach
Even walking one mile had me starting to sweat. The picnic area had tables with pavilions, and we ended up sitting there for a while, with White Bolt. Even though we just had lunch, we were eating pretty much the entire time we were there. I feel like I could just eat constantly now and never stop. Eventually, we decided to move. Our planned end point for the day was only 3 miles away.
All day, there was talk up and down the trail of this picnic area that a local pizza place would deliver to. That was our destination. We wound all around the lake, walked along a bike path, and crossed under a highway, and finally saw the picnic shelter through the bushes. There were several other people already there, including Cougar and Dr. McDirty, who had passed us while we were down at the other picnic area.
We called up the pizza place, and though they seemed a bit confused about where we were, they took our order and said they would be there in about an hour. The woman who delivered the pizza was incredible. I think she went to the wrong picnic area at first, but she called us and let us direct her to our location, and when she arrived we all ran out to the road to meet her. The pizza was awesome. Silence fell over the picnic table as we all devoured massive quantities of food. Everyone was so happy.
A dream come true: pizza delivery on trail
We ended up with about 12 people camping here tonight. A bunch of us are just cowboy camping right inside the picnic shelter, which is great except for the fact that there are apparently lights that come on at night. I’m going to just try putting my buff over my eyes, and hopefully the pizza coma will take me. Tomorrow, we only have 12 miles to Cajon Pass, which has McDonald’s, Subway, and a convenience store. We’ll probably end up spending a few hours there and take a shorter day. I’m super excited.