Day 24
Miles: 335.7 to 353.9

The wind was strong and gnarly, and the most unexpected after the calm breezeless night. The area we were at, just six miles away from Cajon Pass was less than ideal for dealing with 30 mph gusts as it was open and the trail led on the top of a ridge, and once in a while the gust coincided with a cliff being uncomfortably close. The views were all around us, appearing and disappearing in the clouds, and I wish we could enjoy them more.

We strolled to McDonald’s at Cajon Pass at 9:00 a.m. At first it was only three of us hikers there but the hiking crowd grew bigger as time passed. Nearly every PCT hiker stops here to get some calories for the 8,000 climb ahead and also water as the next 22 miles are a completely waterless stretch.

Dave and I planned to hike six or seven more miles for a total of thirteen today. We were ahead of our schedule since we overhiked our miles yesterday and we could afford a shorter day. So we stayed at McDonalds for about two hours, enjoying hot coffee, watching the clouds swallowing the views until there was a big patch of milky fog in front of us through which we were not able to see past the parking lot. Everybody who came in proclaimed: “It’s so cold outside!”

It brought smile to our face because mostly these were people who just parked and walked the five steps to the door.

When we finally made it out again, the weather seemed worse but actually it turned out less windy in the direction we were headed and even though our views were limited to several feet radius, the walk was pleasant, except for stretches of tall wet grass that left us drenched.

We walked through a maze of underpasses, one under the highway, another under the railroad tracks, and then four miles through a canyon of which we only saw the nearest pieces, and then the trail started climbing it’s long uphill stretch toward Wrightwood.

It was a lovely ridge run with excellent views I’m sure. We did not experience the views but we had the solitude of hiking in the thick fog, sidehilling on a ridge that burned couple years ago. The views of the charred lifeless trees against the fog was eerily beautiful.

Not many camp sites were to be found along the ridge, and those we saw were far too small to fit our tent in so we kept on hiking until we finally found our home tonight about 18 miles from where we started in the morning. So much for a short day. But on the other hand, Hwy 2, the hitching point to Wrightwood, was only fifteen miles away and suddenly we realized we had a decent chance to actually make it to town tomorrow.