Day 21 – McDonalds is never ever a good idea

I had an early start this morning at 5:30am as Lucky was clanging around with his cooking pots. I could have slept for a lot longer! 

I started walking on the trail with Marathon John, he walks really fast so I felt a lot of pressure to be really speedy! Eventually I had to stop and take a layer of puff off and he sped on. I carried on hiking. I saw a snake, just a garter snake, no biggie, I didn’t even jump or squeal. He was trying to get something out a hole and he had no idea I was there so I watched him for a bit. When he finally sensed me he moved about 2 meters in half a second. He was so quick! 

The whole goal of today was to get 14 miles down the trail to a McDonalds on the interstate only .4 miles off the trail. I don’t even like McDonalds but everyone had been talking about it for days so I began to look forward to it too. Every step I took said so-da-so-da-so-da-so-da. I really wanted a soda. With ice. And a straw. 

I eventually saw one of those horned lizards everyone has been talking about. 

  

I was flying down the trail today, I stopped once for 5 minutes in 14 miles – just ate some cheese and some chocolate, and took a few pictures of course…

    

We spent a while walking along huge power lines which wasn’t that enjoyable as they were crackling and buzzing with electricity. 

The last 4 miles was all down hill and I was basically jogging. I felt good and I was more than ready for that soda! I came across a snake just lying across the trail, after checking to make sure it wasn’t a rattler I threw a pebble at it to make it move, it slithered off really slowly. This was his territory. 

Just before McDonalds there is a sign, look how far I’ve already come!

  

When I arrived I had hiked 14 miles in 5.5 hours!! I was going at a super speed. I overtook Lucky and I was only half an hour after Marathon John. I felt so pleased with myself. So please with myself that I ordered a bacon double cheeseburger, 6 mc nuggets, a large fries and the biggest soda they had at 1l – which was only a dollar! – and I nailed it all. I didn’t even bother washing my hands I just shovelled it all in as fast as I could. 

I haven’t had McDonald’s for years, and I know why – it’s pretty gross. It filled a big grumbling hole but it was pretty tasteless, actually it all tasted exactly the same, kinda horrible. I still ate 2 of Goatsy’s nuggets and had another half litre of soda though. Then I went to the gas station and got a milkshake – that was definitely a step too far. 

Here are Zog and Bill:

We got a few odd looks from the regular people going in and out. 

I was sat wondering what that awful awful smell was and I realised it was my feet. Well more specifically my socks and shoes. They really really stink. 

I stayed there for nearly 3 hours. Some people stayed at the best western but some of us hiked on a further 5 miles to a rumoured water cache. We went under the interstate, alongside the noisy trains – they blast their horns and are pulling thousands of double stacked shipping containers, I timed one train, it took 7 minutes to pass through – the tunnel under the freeway was creepy, there was no light on the other side! 

    

As soon as I fastened my hip belt – with 4 litres  of water in my bag – I regretted the McDonalds. The belt squished all my insides upwards and forced the McDonalds into my throat. I felt sick the whole of that 5 miles. It tastes gross the first time it tastes even more gross when you can taste it a second time around. 

I got to the cache and the 5 other people had all made the same mistake as me and were feeling sick too. I’m never eating McDonalds again. 

I found a gun casing…kinda scary! 

 
We decided to push on to do 4.6 more miles, to make a 24 mile day – the longest yet. We wanted to get a 2000ft climb out the way so we only had a 5000ft climb to get into Wrightwood the following day. 

    

I walked with Roxanne because neither of us wanted to walk in the dark alone. The first hour was ok, it was twilight. There was a full moon but it was mostly behind the hill and it was really misty so it was pretty useless for us (which is a shame as the past few nights it’s been so bright in the tent!). We had a good pace and managed to crack out 2.5 miles in an hour. 

    

Then it was time to put our headlamps on and it started to get a bit eerie. It’s almost impossible to tell in the dark if the trail goes up or down. You can see all the fine dust particles that you spend all day breathing in floating around your face, glistening in the light. And when you’ve walked nearly 24 miles your legs get tired, about .2 miles from our goal we became a bit hysterical, laughing and walking at the same time is impossible. 

Once we reached our goal – where the PCT crossed a dirt road – we found the road was a slope, no chance of camping there. I was done, not up for walking another step, so I was prepared to just sleep on the side of that dirt road. We were in the road despairing and loudly complaining when a light appeared at the top of the dirt road, it was Lucky! And there were 2 other people there. Yeah! 

I set up camp super quick in the dark, launched all my stuff and myself in my tent and ate some Cheetos – keeping it healthy. My legs are pulsating, not just my legs, my whole body. We walked nearly 10 miles away from Cajon Pass and we can still hear the sodding trains, hopefully I’m tired enough to sleep through them. 

A 17.5 mile waterless stretch is coming up, which is why I’ve hauled 4 litres the last 9.6 miles and hardly drunk anything. 

Tomorrow is a big climb day, but there is the promise of a town at the end, and towns have pizza…

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One thought on “Day 21 – McDonalds is never ever a good idea

  1. I got to McDonalds this same evening and binged just like you. 🙂 I bet most hikers do, even if they never eat the McDonald’s crap normally or again!

    Picked up my resupply package at the Best Western and spent the night at the best rate for Best Western in the west. $59 a night, and a BIG bulk out breakfast for the morning hike. Great deal.

    I was interested to hear about Bill (pictured above) and discussed in your previous posts. He like me heard about the PCT back in the early 70s, and has a tolerant wife as I do, which allowed us to go off on our quest, now 44 years later without any fuss or hold back! I passed him the next day on the way to Rainbow Ridge Campground, and never saw him again. Now I wished I had got to chat with him more.

    Like

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