Day 21: Slackers

21 April 2021
Road near Highway 173 to Road to McDonald’s
PCT Mile 318.7 to 341.9

Today was our “slackpack” day which is a hike without full packs. We left most of our stuff in the hotel and got a Lyft to the location where we left the PCT yesterday, and today we hiked back to the hotel.

Here we go
Showy penstemon
Back in the bush poppies

It was heavenly having to carry so little, but we fought a strong wind from the south all day. Even without the extra load, it was still a very tiring 23 miles.

Ginormous manzanita!

The trail weaves around the contours of the hills above Summit Valley before dropping down to the road and a weird industrial area at the base of the Silverwood Lake Dam.

Summit Valley
Silverwood Lake dam
Putting the mountain in focus
Silverwood Lake spillway
Road walk
Common groundsel

We took a break when the trail re-entered the woods and before a big climb up and over the ridge on the south side of Silverwood Lake. The crazy wind and clouds made the scene quite dramatic today.

Break time!
Silverwood Lake
This is awesome!
Near the water
Pacific pea
Chaparral broomrape
Yellow salsify

We contoured around the lake for a couple of hours and then dropped down again below it for a break and to refill our water bottles.

Ramblin’ was there and we learned that she was hiking while her husband in the marines was doing an intensive college program in Monterrey. Sandwich also showed up right as we left.

Water stop
13.6 to go!
Sky lupine
Rancheria clover
Shortpod mustard
Hairy Yerba Santa
Bigflower agoseris
California rockcress

After a couple hours of climbing we made it to our next water source. I listened to Cola by A Beacon School to help me get up the first bit of the climb.

A pretty little stream
Fernleaf biscuitroot

Near the top of the climb we reached some striking badlands that we would have enjoyed more with less wind.

Marine layer on the badlands
Looking back
View towards Cajon Junction
A brief respite from the wind
Back on trail
Striped treasureflower
Passing under some electric towers
Small melilot

Towards the end of the day, we entered a very pretty little canyon before exiting to the road to McDonald’s, which actually appears on a trail sign!

The canyon was covered with a plant that I didn’t recognize for it’s blooms until I looked it up on iNaturalist: poison oak!

Beautiful canyon at the end
Pacific poison oak blooms
What is this next natural wonder of the PCT?
Reason to hike?

I was a little disappointed with McDonald’s. Usually it is a hiker hang out, with giant piles of burgers and fries and everyone charging their phones and batteries. But it’s still full-on pandemic shut-down there, so we had to get our meal to go.

My McDonald’s shake was awesome, but the other food was awful. I guess there’s a reason I haven’t been to one in 15 years!

Fortunately, we anticipated the let-down and also got a second dinner at a Birria truck before crossing Interstate 15 on a busy state highway on the way back to the hotel.

A better reason to hike
Two meals are better than one

Today’s Hike-U:

The Joy of Slackpacking
Glorious it is
To travel so light that the wind
Blows our packs like kites

One Comment Add yours

  1. Judy says:

    Great blogs. Really enjoy following your adventure. Impressed by your pictures of native flowers and plants which you name.

    Liked by 1 person

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