The Guilty Arches 

Day 12
Mileage: 25.9

Total Distance: 344.5

Camp tonight is on a ridge over looking I-15 with an occasional train passing by. I am under the bright stars once again and imagining different shapes while wondering if any of them are real constellations. I wish I knew more about stars. Mars is bright and I can find north. That’s pretty dope. 

I woke up this morning to the sound of John packing his bag. Either I hop up quickly and get my things together, or have my ritual slow morning with a poop and a chill breakfast and catch up to him later. I couldn’t bring myself to get up so I laid there while he packed. We agreed to meet at the lake 10 miles away where I would clean his bag from the chocolate explosion last night. 

  • Trail magic!!

Eventually I crawled out of my stink sac and got my things together. It was an incredibly slow morning and I didn’t get started until 6:45. The second the sun rose above the ridge I could feel it’s heat. It was going to be a hot day. I felt really low first thing this morning and perhaps it was me having to deal again with feeling lonely and sad. I got some podcasts on after spending some time in my head trying to stabilize myself on my own accord. Going inward and asking yourself the real questions and being honest with who you know yourself to be is something that comes so naturally to me and getting to spend days like today feeling pressed to figure some things out was a great opportunity. 

My quad on my left leg started bothering me pretty quickly, but it just felt sore so I ignored it all day. My sickness seems to have dropped so that was really exciting. My shoes have absolutely turned to shit and there are holes on both of them allowing rocks and sand to go underneath the soles of my feet and cause incredible discomfort every mile or so. 

After a couple of hours winding the ridges and hoping over to the other side to wrap around a gorgeous lake, I made it to where I would meet John. He had been there for about an hour so I washed his things quickly and then tended to my own chocolate disaster in my food bag. Everything. Smelled. Like. Chocolate. The worst. I’ll never be able to eat Hershey again. (As I sip a chocolate milkshake.)

  • The view leaving the lake. 

John left and I talked to an older woman for a while who told me to put tuna packets in my shoes to help with the rocks. Of course I listened and fashioned some aluminum soles from my empty tuna packet and stuffed it down my shoe. It works pretty well actually. Mountain lion gonna love my feet tonight!

I got back on the trail and climbed some ridges to begin my final decent into Cajon Pass. The mountains to come are gorgeous, but water is scarce. It was so hot today with a head index of 116 and tomorrow is the same with a 27 mile space without water. Bummmmmmmeeerrrr. I started feeling the dehydration weakness and chugged the water I had to feel better and booked it into town. 

I knew I’d be hitting up a McDonald’s and I didn’t want to think about it. I felt guilty the second I saw those arches, but was literally running to it for water and a milkshake. I also got a burger. And two Big Macs. And a large fry. Dammit. I’m the worst. Anyone who knows me well knows how much I hate this company and today I blew a solid 15 bucks on it. 

  • Getting into Cajon Pass. 

I got to McDonald’s and found John who had probably been here for a while and I found my seat to relax. John got his things together and took off back down the trail. Not sure if I’ll see the dude again, but it was nice to get to know him. Quiet guy, but artistic and smart. I have a lot of respect for him and I wish my legs could have kept up because he had a good way of hiking with people. He had the right amount of dependence and also a desire to communicate and have good conversation about something real and not superficial. This is just kind of the way things happen sometimes. Pace can change and my legs today just can’t do another 30. Maybe one day I’ll have the stamina and strength to bust 40’s like a boss, but today I’m getting fat on McDonald’s. Woohoo!!! 

  • Kind of encouraging. Still longer than the AT…

I sat in McDonald’s for a depressing amount of time to relax and charge my phone and spent an hour talking to Molly before getting things together to head out. I stopped by the gas station and grabbed a few bags of chips and on my way to the trail I pass the one and only Roadhouse! He’s thinking of zeroing tomorrow which is a bummer, but hopefully will catch up next week when Molly comes to visit. 

I was able to talk with Molly for a long time and feel that connection I’ve been longing for from so far away while I made my way about 2 miles north on the trail before finding my camp spot. I just saw a shooting star and the hum of the interstate is soothing as I turn in for the night. Every so often a subtle rumble from the train vibrates the earth beneath me and makes me feel nestled in the hills for another night in the desert. 
Thought of the day:

Do I pack out McDonald’s or not? The guilt will follow either way. Might as well. 

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