Appreciating Food Chains (May 14)
In the morning I woke up and heard some others nearby starting to rustle around. I guess the people who cowboy camped (camped out in the open in their sleeping bags, no tent) were less enthusiastic about getting up in the morning because they had heavy condensation on their bags. Strangely, I was not affected, even though I had slept with my tent fly kept off the tent.
I started packing up and looked over at some other hikers already hiking away from our camp area. Two goofy friends were being silly, looking at me and raising up their trekking poles in victory, because they had gotten up earlier than normal. It was only around 0530, but it is always a lot easier to wake up early in the outdoors, when the sky starts lightening, compared to being inside a house.
I got packed up and waved goodbye to a few hikers I knew. I hiked up the mountain overlooking our camp site. It was a pretty morning, and so beautiful to look down on where we had just spent the night. I could see hikers down there even yet, folding up their tents and hoisting their packs.
The big dream of this day was hiking around 7 miles to the McDonalds ahead. The trail crosses under busy Interstate 15 in this section (Cajon Pass, between the San Bernardino Mountains and San Gabriel Mountains), and there so happens to be an exit nearby, with a McDonalds, gas station, and some food trucks within 0.4 miles of the PCT. It is so funny that most of us came out here for this long-distance wilderness experience, and yet I couldn’t have been happier, imagining sitting down to a Mcdonald’s breakfast that morning.
A group of us arrived there around the same time, and enjoyed all the luxuries- good-tasting and fatty food, sitting in seats at tables to eat, even filling up our water bottles, conveniently, in the bathrooms 🙂 We ate breakfast, and then collectively made our way up to the food trucks. Some of us ordered burritos to go, to pack out with us, for the long climb ahead. The joy of having new non-trail food to eat and carry along for later was great. I think also there was joy in knowing that this is another quirky day in a long adventure ahead, for most of us.
We sat in the grass a while, chatting, brushing teeth, stretching. Other travelers stopped sometimes to look at our packs and ask what we were doing. After a while, I started packing up and getting ready to hike again, and that seemed to spur others to start packing up as well.
Many of us started hiking together, back to the trail. The next few hours were spent steadily ascending up from Cajon Pass, with increasing visibility of the surrounding land and mountains, the higher we got. As has happened several times now, we ascended up through different kinds of desert flora and scenery, and eventually were walking among pine trees again.
Not too much more to say. The day was precious because of the good hiking and views, and also because of that altered perspective- that a simple breakfast at a food chain along a freeway could be so fun and appreciated, who would have thought?
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