October 17th, 2018
Cajon Pass Interstate 15 mm 342 to Deep Creek bridge mm 310
Distance: 32 miles
0800 – 1830
Overnight, I bought a one-way ticket from Phoenix to Miami for the 31st. So now I have a deadline. If I average 30 miles a day, I will make it to the border by the 28th…just 12 more days, including this one. It’s probably not realistic to do this, since I also have to factor in town stops. But we’ll see.
The hotel had a good continental breakfast, so we were able to stuff ourselves before resuming the trail. I was glad to get away from all the hub-bub of that busy interstate. The noise quickly disappeared as the trail entered a dry canyon. There was a bit of climbing but not bad relative to other town departures. I was once again carrying way too much food but I’m used to the extra weight.
The trail passed by Silverwood lake and would end the day next to a creek, so for once, there was plenty water today. Although, I wouldn’t have wanted to drink the lake water. There was a marina in the lake and I saw some trash along the shore. We instead had lunch at a picnic area with spigots and tables. It even had an outlet that worked. We joked that we should just end the day early and camp there. But now I have my schedule to uphold.
Looking back at the dry hills and chain of mountains I came down in the days preceding.
We wound in and out around the lake and then along some hills paralleling the Mojave River and a valley of farms. We came to Deep creek (which had plenty of water/was flowing) and began following it up a canyon. It reminded me of hiking in the many canyons where I grew up in Colorado. The trail clung to the sides and there were places where it had been washed out and re-fortified. I imagine that it might have been a railroad at one time.
Sadly, there was a lot of graffiti and trash in this area. Besides that, I have been seeing tons of Mylar balloons. The consequences of being so close to such a huge urban area (Los Angeles) . We came to a bridge just as it was getting dark and found some really nice tent sites in the sand. It was still fairly warm out and a nice change from the cold nights of previous campsites. A half moon shone on the canyon walls as I made dinner. It was stark and hauntingly beautiful.
I continue to be amazed and gracious for all the beauty and diversity of the Southern California desert. I confess, I was not looking forward to this section. I thought it would be a bit anti-climatic after the grandness of the Sierra. I expected to have trail burnout and a feeling of just wanting to get it over. Now of course, I am incredibly sad that it is ending. The desert has been one of my favorite sections, a close tie with the northern Cascades and Sierra. I have felt so strong throughout, being able to do ridiculous miles back to back. Here I have felt like my abilities are limitless. Walk 30 miles before it gets dark at 6 pm, easy. Walk for more hours in the dark, sounds like fun. Go for 20 miles without water, no problem. And I have been surrounded by great friends, who have made the experience so much more interesting and fun. The landscapes open to infinity, where anything is possible, and I am cherishing these moments.