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June 6, 2024 - Day 20

June 6, 2024 - Day 20

jbwils Jun 7th, 2024
jbwils's 2024 PCT Thru-Hike

Today marks not only the 20th day on the trail but also my 28th birthday. This definitely went down as the most unique birthday to date.

We woke up this morning to the sunrise around 5:30 this morning as we set our tents up on the edge of a lake. Our tents soon became greenhouses and were uncomfortably hot by around 6:15. Our hopes of sleeping in after getting settled at 3AM were quickly crushed. We slowly took down our tents and made our breakfast. Without my instant espresso mix, I’m not sure how I would have managed to get moving this morning.

As we were packing up and getting ready for our day (which took about two hours given our state of exhaustion) the flies began to bombard us. Tiber seemed to be extra delirious as he spent more than an hour catching flies that landed on them and picking different creative ways to kill them. His favorite seemed to be taking their wings off and then placing them in an ant farm. I blame the heat and lack of sleep. Nonetheless, his ability to capture a fly and keep it alive seemed impressive to me.

Once we got moving, it was already in the 90’s. We were surrounded by a beautiful lake that seemed to call us in for a swim each time we walked near but our day had more important things in store… McDonald’s.

Cajon Pass sits at mile 342 on the trail going northbound and passes under Interstate 15. There is a junction that leads to a McDonald’s about .4 miles off the trail. The ultimate birthday meal. We’ve been planning our order for days now. After 15.5 grueling miles with a few spectacular views that offered us a mental relief from the heat, we reached McDonald’s. Once we walked in, there was a whole group of thru hikers that we caught up to asleep, stretching, or massaging their bodies in the corner of the fine establishment of McDonald’s. We sat down and enjoyed the AC before mustering up enough energy to order our meals. My first round consisted of 3 McDoubles, 10 Piece McNuggets, fries, and a coke. After eating this in record time, I did not feel well at all but still sat completely satiated. I then proceeded to refill my coke cup about seven times. It dawned on me a new restaurant idea: hike 340 miles to through the desert to get to it and serve processed burgers and fries. It will be one of the best meals you ever have.

After resting and relaxing, I went for a more conservative round two of two additional McDoubles, an order of fries, and a M&M McFlurry. By now, I had overdone it but still, I sat victorious. We spent about 6 hours in that McDonald’s and talked with a group that had been there since 8AM, taken multiple naps, and eaten three full meals. After cleaning up, we spoke with a man by the name of Russell. He was a trucker that seemed to have a lonely demeanor so Spoons, Tiber, and I gave him about an hour and a half of our time to listen to his stories and hear his political conspiracies.

At this point, it was getting late and we decided to hike an additional 5 miles on trail to give ourselves a head start for the morning. Tomorrow, we arrive at Wrightwood where we’ll take a full days rest, or as thru hikers call it, a zero day, and relax as we let our bodies recover. I’ll have to pick up a new pair of shoes already. The treads are completely flat and the bottoms are starting to take a concave shape. I’m sure my feet will thank me. We’re camped on a ridge above interstate 15. There’s a calming hum of cars below and the occasional train whistle. Should be good sleeping.

Happy bellies…

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