328.1-341.9 13.8 PCT miles + .3 back to trail + .4 to McDonald’s + .5 miles to hotel = 15 miles total!
Running total: 358.5 miles
Knowing we had trail magic coming this morning and weren’t planning on a super long hike, we all slept in a bit- it was glorious!! And when we did wake, we woke with a lot less layers on than when we went to bed- at some point overnight it really heated up, which is wild ’cause it also rained!
Weekend storms have been in the forecast all week, and there was still a high chance of rain today and thunderstorms tomorrow. I had talked it out with Matt and our Trail Fam- I’d be okay hiking in the rain, but I was NOT excited about hiking up over 8000 feet on ridges during thunderstorms- thankfully everyone agreed BUT, the problem was the timing of these storms- we had wanted to be in Wrightwood by Sunday, but unless we took Saturday completely off, any way we looked at it we would be gaining significant elevation in a storm- we had 14 miles to go to get down to Cajon Pass, where there was a hotel, but after Cajon Pass it was a 27 mile climb up to about 8400 feet- one we didn’t wanna do in one day! SO, we made the plan to share a hotel room in Cajon Pass and play the weather game by ear. (We also managed to talk another fairly large trail family into getting a hotel room!)
After slowly peeling ourselves from our sleeping bags, we all started prepping for the day, while simultaneously consuming the leftover pizza and beer.
Pretty close to 9, Fish Tank returned with his wife Allison and a truck-full of food!! O.m.g! We enjoyed it to the max, and excitedy greeted hikers and friends as they all strolled in looking for food and shelter from the rain storm! Preston, Posh David, Watercolor, and Kez (a lady I chatted with briefly on a rainy day in Idyllwild, and then again when we expected rain in Big Bear) all showed up! We found out that Preston and Posh David also reserved rooms at the hotel, and I managed to talk Kez and Watercolor in to getting a room together too!
Just as we were mentally preparing ourselves to leave this little slice of heaven, another car of trail angels pulled up with doughnuts and cookies! O.m.g!
We spent a bit more time indulging, then eventually, one by one, our trail family headed out into the rain to hike our 14+ miles to Cajon Pass.
The rain quickly stopped, but Matt and I were already sweaty so we decided to leave our rain gear on so we didn’t freeze.
Eventually Watercolor caught up with us, and we hiked the last few miles together.
It was a lovely but warm hike into Cajon Pass, where we saw the most amazing site ever: Golden Arches! There was a legit trail sign pointing out the McDonalds!!! Now, I can’t remember the last time I ate at McDonalds (maybe 20+ years ago??) but an egg sandwich, hashbrown, AND ice cream cone were all calling my name! (I also ordered a side salad- gotta get my greens!)
We arrived to McDonald’s to find our trail fam already there and eating! We joined them and chowed down.
Slowly we all shuffled over to the hotel (it was quite the sketchy road walk, but included a stop for fresh fruit!) where we all took turns showering, did some loads of laundry, consumed a lot of Del Taco, drank wine and beer, had a dance party, soaked feet, and eventually passed out. Our hotel room had 3 queen beds and a pull out couch- 9 of us shared the room quite comfortably, with She-Wee taking one for the team and sleeping on his blow-up mattress pad.
Happiness is: sunshine on a cloudy day: trail magic and hotel parties!! The trail magic was unreal- muffins, fresh watermelon and oranges, hamburgers and hotdogs made to order, veggies, chips, soda, cookies, doughnuts, and probably so much more I can’t remember!! Fish Tank also supplied a charging station so we could keep all of our electronics charged:) And, to top it off, after a short hiking day we got fast food and hotel rooms!