Day 24 - Cajon Pass

I woke up in my skylit canyon "cabin," ready for some "real" food.

Crowder canyon, where I laid my head to rest for the night. 

Crowder canyon, where I laid my head to rest for the night. 

In less than a half mile, I was introduced to the roar of interstate highway rush hour traffic. 

Everyone seemed to be in a hurry, at least they appeared to be driving very fast, compared to my steady 2.5 mph pace.

Everyone seemed to be in a hurry, at least they appeared to be driving very fast, compared to my steady 2.5 mph pace.

I soon approached the mythic McDonalds sign and it pointed the way to those much spoken of golden arches.

 We geek out over some funny things out here.

 We geek out over some funny things out here.

I paid my respects to this trusted American institution and received my 1,300+ calorie reward. 

This was most but not all of the meal. The hash browns disappeared...
This was most but not all of the meal. The hash browns disappeared...

The novelty of eating fast food reminded me of the post soccer game meet ups of my youth, back when Michael Jordan was still peddling hamburgers.

Those calories carried me quite a ways. I climbed over 5,000 feet in elevation during the course of the day, covering about 20 miles in the process. 

Overlooking Cajon Pass, a crossroads for automobile and locomotive traffic. 

Overlooking Cajon Pass, a crossroads for automobile and locomotive traffic. 

The pass was visible during most of the climb, the cars and trains shrinking by the mile. 

The most challenging part of the day may have been avoiding this pernicious plant. 

Poodle Dog Bush. It looks friendly and smells kind, but brushing up against it will land you in the hospital. 

Poodle Dog Bush. It looks friendly and smells kind, but brushing up against it will land you in the hospital. 

This stuff was all over a section of the trail. It pops up in areas that have recently burned and may be mother nature's way of tell us to leave the land alone so it can heal. 

It was reaching out over the trail from both sides and felt like a gauntlet.

Much to our thirst quenching surprise, immediately after this section was over, Ed was waiting to give us some treats and reassure us that the worst was over, at least for today. 

Ed lives in Wrightwood and has been giving hikers treats for 15 years. He picks this spot because he views it as the most rewarding place for refreshment along this 27 mile waterless stretch of trail. Thanks for the Cheetos and Gatorade, Ed, they really hit the spot! 

Ed lives in Wrightwood and has been giving hikers treats for 15 years.

He picks this spot because he views it as the most rewarding place for refreshment along this 27 mile waterless stretch of trail.

Thanks for the Cheetos and Gatorade, Ed, they really hit the spot! 

We climbed for several more miles and I stopped for the day when I started seeing snow.

I just can't get enough of this stuff.

I just can't get enough of this stuff.

I threw a snow ball at some friends that were breaking for dinner and then joined them in savoring the view of the now cloud covered pass below. 

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The sea of clouds made the far off mountain look like it was an island floating in the sky. 

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The chilly fog was starting to roll in further up the mountain, so I decided to hunker down for the night and tackle the summit in the morning.

It was cold down there at 8,100 feet, but as I later discovered, there were far more wintry conditions awaiting hikers at the campground near the summit. 

<3 Will