Day Twenty Two

Miles today: 20
Total miles: 328

I slept so well last night that our 4:30 am wake up didn't seem very early. As we got ready and packed up, the others in camp were waking up and heading back into the hot springs. I wanted more than anything to join them, but I knew if I did, I would never want to leave.

Reluctantly we said goodbye to our paradise and hiked north. It was so difficult for me to leave, but I had water coursing through my veins today, and it made me strong. We set a good pace and made it past the Mojave River dam and back into desert by early afternoon. Since it was growing hot quickly, we found a bit of shade and took a nap for an hour. We were quickly caught up by the rest of our hiking friends.

Lunchbox passed us first, and he asked, "did you guys get the trail magic this morning?"
"What!" we said. "No!"
"Yeah, back at that road crossing!" He said. "There were root beer floats and hot dogs and everything!"
We concluded we must have walked by too early in the morning and missed it. Damn our motivation! We tried to forget about it, but as each hiker passed, they all asked us the same thing: "did you get the trail magic this morning?"
After the fifth person, we were saying, "no no no, stop reminding us!!"
Focus plopped himself down in our bit of shade and said musingly,
"So what you're saying is, if you had only slept in and gotten back in the hot springs with us, you would have made it in time for trail magic... AND still have made it to this spot in time for afternoon siesta."
I groaned. "Shut up, shut up, shut up!"
Focus laughed and then pulled out a giant danish from his pack and began eating it in front of me.
"Where did you get that?" I asked.
"Trail magic," he said around a big bite.
I sighed. "At least tell me it tastes horrible."
"Oh, yeah," Focus laughed. "Because if I'm being honest, the root beer floats were a little too cold, and this danish is a bit too buttery..."
"Shut up, shut up, shut up!" I laughed.

We gathered from other hikers and our maps that we would be passing by a lake later today, so that was our new goal.

The trail went through an interesting section after that, what looked like a construction zone and maintenance area. Katie and I joked about the ridiculousness of the PCT.
"And to your left you will see Mount Storage Unit," I said. "First summit was in 2009 with a height of 20 feet. Notice in particular the blue sliding doors."
We also joked about the wind, which normally was a wonderful respite from the desert heat, but could occasionally get out of control.
"I appreciate your enthusiasm, wind, but can you take it down a notch?" Katie asked as her hat flew off again.
"You're at a nine right now, I'm gonna need you at about a seven," I said.

We caught up with Focus, Dog, and Lunchbox at a small cooler of trail magic: cantaloupe, apples, oranges, bottled water and hard boiled eggs! We ate with relish and pointedly ignored Focus's comment "two trail magics in one day!"

Dog was in a hyper mood and eager to get to the lake. He was eating eggs and taking shots from his liquid energy drink mix, which I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to drink in the concentrated form...

We all were in good moods, having had two good days in a row. After our fresh fruit magic (I find I crave fresh fruit on trail more than any other food) we hiked on and I made up a silly song as we went:
"Apples, you are so yummy
Especially in my tummy!
Apples, you are so crunchy
I love to eat you for brunchy!"

A few miles later we came over a crest and were met by the gorgeous view of Silverwood Lake. Besides the hot springs oasis, it was the prettiest thing I had seen in a while. So much blue water! The trail took us around the perimeter of the whole thing, and once we got to the other side there was a pavilion where Focus, Dog, Coincidence, Katie and I took a break. All of us wanted to relax by the water, but Dog, still active on his energy drink, decided to go for a swim. There were some fisherman on the other side of the lake, and Focus jokingly told Dog to swim over and ask for beer.

Next thing we knew, Dog was in the water and paddling to the other side. It took him a while, as it was quite a large lake, but we watched as he swam up to the fisherman, gestured to them, appeared to rescue one of their fishing poles from the water, reeled in a fish, waved goodbye, and swam back.
"They said they didn't have any beer," Dog told us as he stepped on our shore again, perhaps an hour later. We couldn't stop laughing.
"We should rename you Dogfish," we said.
"I think I scared the fisherman, popping out of the water like that!" He admitted.

We relaxed at the pavilion until 5:00 and then walked another two miles to a picnic area where we decided to stay the night with Focus, Coincidence, Lunchbox, and Dog. We wanted to set up tents in the lush green grass, but learned there were sprinklers that came on in the evening, so we decided to cowboy camp on the cement under the picnic tables, instead. As we ate dinner and checked our maps, we realized we were only 15 miles from a McDonald's that was right on trail. The boys made it their goal to make it for the breakfast menu tomorrow, which ended at 10:30.

As we set up camp in the empty picnic area, we decided that this was an eerie location, with lush green grass and no people. Katie and I nominated Dog to protect us from zombies tonight. He solemnly agreed.

We lay on our mats in bed, hiding our headlamps from cars that drove by, just in case we were not allowed to camp here. I watched the sprinklers water the grass next to me, thinking it strange that we've been desperate for every drop of water we find on the trail for three weeks, and here the sprinklers go off every night, just to make the grass green in the desert. It seemed such a waste. This trail has made me appreciate such small, important things, like clean water when you need it most.

Before I turned off my headlamp, I spotted a large frog hopping next to my sleeping bag. I watched it for a moment before whispering to it, "go find Lunchbox," and shooed it off. A few moments later I heard Lunchbox exclaim, "hey! A huge frog!"

Today was a good day.