PCT Day 21
Miles: 190.5 - 213.4
Photo: Walkin in the Wind
I think everyone I talked to today agreed that today sucked. 80-90 degree heat, a long water carry, little to no shade, and warm gusts of dusty wind. I tripped and fell twice, the bottom of one of my trekking poles snapped, I got rattled by a rattlesnake, and it was my longest day ever in terms of mileage. While I am proud of that last one, especially given my history of foot issues while on the trail, I am soo so glad that the day is over.
The saving grace was getting to the I-10 oasis near Cabazon. It’s an underpass where there’s a plethora of trail magic, tired hikers, and a stocked water cache. There’s also an In-N-Out a few minutes away. I told myself I would just skip it since I already had food for dinner planned out, and I was low-key desensitized to it after being a huge fan for several years. However, once I got to mile 12 or s today, I knew I had to send it. I split an Uber with another hiker and we headed into town to have In-N-Out for dinner.
It always feels a bit strange walking into civilization with all my gear on while being absolutely filthy from all the dust and grit of the desert. The feeling usually passes after a few seconds. When I walked in the door, there was surprisingly no line so I made my order promptly. Two double-doubles animal style, vanilla shake, and a soda cup for lemonade. They slipped up a little bit and I got two sides of animal fries, even though I didn’t order any! I didn’t say anything about it. I gave one to my friend and took the other to go. My eyes were bigger than my stomach so I couldn’t finish my second burger. I also took it to go. It’ll be an experiment to see how well they handle after sitting in my food bag all night.
When we got back where we left off, I decided I didn’t want to camp under a freeway, so I did an hour and a half or so of night hiking. When I got to the campsite, it was 15 minutes past hiker midnight (9:00 PM). I decided instead of setting my tent up in the wind, I’d figure I’d try cowboy camping. I have my bug net on, so fingers crossed I don’t regret this!