As might be guessed from the title of this post, the most exciting thing that happened was stopping at McDonald’s for breakfast.
But first I had to pack up, fill up water from the cache, and hike 5 miles over some buttes toward I-15 seeing it in the distance the whole time, going past a strange isolated bench, through a tunnel under a railroad track, and under the interstate itself before surfacing onto the side road that led past the site of a historical free campground (no longer extant) to the McDonald’s in question.
To be clear, this is pretty much the only McDonald’s that is anywhere near the PCT for its entire length. A normal person wouldn’t get excited for a hot breakfast sandwich, fresh coffee, and some pancakes eaten sitting on the curb of a parking lot next to a busy interstate, but to someone only a week or so out of hiding out a snowstorm in a privy, such was the lap of luxury.
There was also an adjacent convenience store with such treats as chips and root beer. And it actually had a table outside to sit at. You can bet I enjoyed a solid hour at least here hanging out with the birds who wanted my crumbs before returning to the trail.
What followed was a very interesting bit of trail threading through a narrow canyon cut by a creek (currently dry). The canyon eventually opened into a flat and the trail climbed slowly up the side of a ridge and crossed through a hilltop pass. I reached this point just before sunset. The trail immediately dropped into another valley before coming near Cleghorn Road.
As soon as I could get to this road, I turned right on it and went up the valley, out of the state park and into the national forest. I past one guy trying to set up some kind of fancy timed photo with a tripod who assured me that I did not bomb his photo. When the road became dirt, I looked for a place to leave it and wandered out into the area near the dry creek bed and found a secluded patch of open sand mostly surrounded by trees.
I was flouting the rule against dispersed camping on national forest lands in order to avoid the police and authorities who were said to patrol the state park and stop people from camping. There was an official campground there, but it was closed. Much less trouble to be had by stealthing in a spot unlikely to be noticed.
It was one of those rare nights where I got to my intended campsite before it was too dark to see, but that’s because I had no choice but to stop. There was no camping possible for quite a few miles to come past this point. I still needed a headlamp to cook and set up my tent though.
Total distance: 18 miles