McDonald’s and then up

Day 24 – 5/6/15
High on the ridges below Acorn Tail
Miles – 18.8
Total Miles – 374.5 (PCT 356.3)

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We had a good nights sleep, but at some point clouds came in and our tents got wet. The sun came up early and gave us a chance to dry the tents. Once packed, we hiked fast to get to McDonald’s, just off hwy 15 at Cajon Pass. We came in around 9:00 and ordered right away. Joon and I had Egg McMuffins and pancakes. Joon also got a chocolate milkshake. Mama Raven and Will walked a mile up the road and across the freeway to the Subway to get sandwiches to take on the trail for lunch. After they returned, Mama Raven and Will ordered breakfast and ate while we all relaxed. Also at McDonalds was thru-hikers Senor Wiskers, Zarah (SoBo), and Just Travis. We left McDonalds at 11:30. On the way out, we ran into Whole Roll who asked us what are plans were for the oncoming storm. We have not been paying attention to the latest weather reports so the question caught us off guard. His question explains why it was so cold. We told him we will continue with our plan to hike up and make our way to Wrightwood. We needed to get some of the up done with today, so tomorrow will be shorter, especially with a storm coming in. We would like to get into Wrightwood before lunch. The up to Wrightwood is long, high climb. We will go up about 5000′ in 22 miles. The first thing we had to do was to get to the other side of Hwy 15. We did this by going under it, in a very large water drain. It is about 50′ across and 20′ high. It curves so you cannot see the other end until you are about mid way through it. The Cajon Pass area is a major fright train pass. The long trains are going day and night. We past under a number of train tracks. Finally the trail left this area and headed up Lone Pine Canyon. There we crossed the San Andreas Fault, nothing moved, and we started our climb.
As we started the climb we once again bumped in to Whole Roll.  He was pulling his backpack apart looking for his Spot device.  He thought that he had left it at the Best Western hotel back at the Cajon Pass, some five miles back.  He was not happy because there was not enough time left in the day to hike 10 miles round trip.  In the end he started hiking back for it.  As the afternoon wore on, the clouds stated to reassert themselves and we soon found ourselves hiking in the fog.  All four of us hiked very strong for such a long up. Our endurance is getting stronger.  As our day ended, we set camp just above the clouds. I hope they do not thicken or we will have a wet night. We are over 6000′ and it is very cold. We all piled into the one big tent and ate our Subway sandwiches. It was a good dinner. Mama Raven and I are going to bed apprehensive about tomorrows weather.
A couple of new records for the kids. Today is day 24, that breaks their old record of most days out hiking. We also broke their record for most miles in a single trip, the old record was 360 miles and today they hit 374.

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Paradise

Day 10 – 4/22/15
Cedar Springs Trail Junction
Miles – 20.5
Total Miles – 170.4 (PCT 162.6)
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We woke up this morning with visions of hamburgers in our heads. We were 8 miles from the Paradise Cafe on the Pines to Palms highway. Dreaming of restaurant food is a huge motivation to hike fast…and that is exactly what we did. The miles rolled by and we walked into the restaurant little after 11. Slowly we worked our way through 3 large hamburgers and a plate of nachos with lots of guacamole for Joon. After lunch, we were back on the trail to Idyllwild.
In 10 miles, at Cedar Springs, the PCT is rerouted because of a fire in 2013. The forest service has keep this trail section closed because their has been lots of erosion and they want the plants to come back strong without human influences. It will add 4 or 5 miles but that is OK. It is a very quite trail section since most people are skipping it. That 10 mile section began gently as it meandered for several miles through a boulder field. It was beautiful. As the trail grew steeper, it got colder and colder, and the sun was replaced with thick dense clouds.  As we moved up over 6000 feet, we reached the ridge line and the wind really picked up. The clouds were racing over the top of the ridge and down the backside – to were, we didn’t know because of zero visibility. There was very little daylight left and Joon was getting scared. Shortly thereafter it was so dark we had to take out our headlamps. It was really cold! Now Joon was so scared she began to cry. However she understood we had to go on because we had no place to camp. At 9:00 pm we reached Cedar Springs Trail and found the perfect campsite. It was flat, shielded from the wind, and it was home for the night.  As we pitched our tents, Mama Raven realized that she could see the moon and some stars. By the time the tents were up, the clouds were gone and the stars were shining bright. Looking to the west, we could see the valley was socked in with clouds. Looking to the east was a more impressive view. Thousands of feet below us, was the twinkling lights of Palm Springs and it’s surrounding communities. Our efforts were rewarded grandly with such an amazing scene. Even Joon was impressed.

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GiGi at the Little Tree Library, cache 145

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