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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Near the top of the climb we reached some striking badlands that we would have enjoyed more with less wind.
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!
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.
The Joy of Slackpacking
Glorious it is
To travel so light that the wind
Blows our packs like kites