Destination: Close to MM 356.2 (off trail detour)
We woke this morning to a little condensation on the tent. Uncle Tom's tent had a little ice buildup on the tent walls. This did not deter us from getting up and moving, because we were only six and a half miles away from a delicious McDonald's breakfast.
We know what you are thinking... "McDonald's?! Really?! How can you eat that?!"
Well, after hiking for a month eating the same old food over and over again, the call of warm food(-like substance), that is not built around boiling water is very alluring.
So we packed our bags and made a very quick walk to Interstate-15 where McDonald's awaited. Along the way, Apricots (who started shortly before Psycho) heard this beastly whaling/screeching sound emanating from the trail ahead. As she approached, she saw this hairy pseudo-rabbit flopping on the trail next to a solar powered speaker. At first she thought she had encountered some bizarre trail prank. After discussing the site for several minutes with Uncle Tom, two men stood up from behind a bush and declared that they were coyote hunting.
Psycho's brother is a coyote hunter, so he can understand this a little, but these yahoo hunters didn't think it through too much. They were hunting on an interstate freeway of trails. Every day 30 plus hikers will loudly come tromping down this trail exuding a fierce human odor that could hardly be expected to do anything except deter anything but the most unintelligent of animals.
Fifty yards later Apricots, and all who followed behind, came across beast sized four-wheelers sporting every attachment but the kitchen sink. After another hiker explained that they were on a thoroughfare of backpackers, the packed up and moved along.
Prior to pulling into McDonald's, we made a descent over steep cliffs that Psycho vaguely recalls from last hike, where he night-hiked through those miles. After dropping to elevation, the final mile wound through a deep canyon created by a low flowing creek.
We arrived at McDonald's just in time to enjoy a breakfast, let the meal digest, and go back for seconds in lunch fashion. Most of us fared well, only spending $10-15 However, the two texans (The Mayor and Sir Richard Wizard) ate in such large quantities that both were whimpering in agonizing pain when we pulled out.
Due to the 2009 Sheep Fire, the PCT was rerouted to avoid any possible problems that could come as a result of hiking through an un-scouted burn zone. The PCTA had yet to determine the condition of the trail, and the likelihood of falling trees cutting short a hikers dream. The 13.5 mile detour bypassed 12.2 trail miles, placing us at 356.2 trail miles when we reconnect with the PCT. We camped about 1.5 miles short of the point of reconnect.
The first seven miles of the detour (after McDonald's) had an agonizing climb in the heat of midday, but our enormous caloric intake powered us through to Apple White camp, a bizarre green oasis perched in the middle of an otherwise barren wasteland. Resting there, and strangely eating again, we re-grouped.
We looked over the possible routes over the snow-capped Blue Ridge that awaits our arrival tomorrow. After little discussion, we all concluded that hiking three miles off trail tomorrow and hitching into Wrightwood would enable us the opportunity to talk with other hikers about the condition of the trail on the mountain.
We hiked the last few miles of the detour, stopping shy of the reconnect point. We set up camp and had a small campfire and communal dinner before going to bed.
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