5/29: (14.1 miles) Got a ride from the trail angel, Papa Smurf, I was staying with to the Fawnskin post office where my box was. Then he dropped me off at the Cougar Crest trail. After about 2 miles, the Cougar Crest trail took me to PCT mile 277.9. I stopped for lunch and after I finished two hikers came by. This is how the conversation went:
Them: "Hi, are you a through hiker?"
Me: "Yeah" (and in an attempt to kick off introductions) "I'm Derek"
Them: "Derek! No way! We feel like we already know you! We've been following your blog!
How's your foot?"
So that was pretty cool! I hiked with them for a bit, then eventually they passed me (then I passed them the next morning). [If you guys are reading this, I'm sorry I don't believe I caught your names (or I forgot) otherwise I would mention you by name!]
Rebecca and I camped at about PCT mile 290 (we intended to go to 293 but it was getting dark). We have decided that my trail name is SuperTramp (after Chris McCandless) and hers is Gummy Child (because she once offered everyone Sour Patch Kids with the phrase "would you like some gummy children?").
5/30: (20.2 miles) Felt like a very slow (and HOT! over 100!) day. I got going about 2 hours after Gummy Child and didn't see her again until the Hot Springs. Yes, I hiked to the first Hot Springs today (Deep Creek Hot Springs). "Clothing Optional" might as well say "there will be a bunch of naked old dudes here" so that was...interesting. Decided not to camp there- not because it was technically not allowed (people were doing it and all was well), but because I didn't want some sort of drug-fueled ruckus starting around midnight. So I left late and hiked until I found a good spot (which, unfortunately, wasn't for another 2.2 miles)
5/31: (16.2 miles) another 100+° day! Unfortunately, I learned the hard way today that you should not run out of water in the desert. In the morning I was out of water for about half an hour (not too bad), but then again I was out of water much later for about 2 hours (or more). Water is by far the heaviest thing to carry (I usually carry around 2.75 L or just about 6 pounds). I can carry more, but it's obviously not going to be too comfortable (especially if I'm just out of a town carrying about 4-5 days of food). So I cut it really close with water this day (maybe too close) but I was fine and was able to camp by the lake that night.
6/1: (15.4 miles) McDonald's day! The trail has many little surprises along the way and one is where the trail waltzes right up to I-15, within 0.4 miles of a McDonald's and a few small convenience stores. I ordered a Big Mac and large M&M McFlurry (I dreamed about ice cream while hiking the last couple of days). I hung out there for a few hours, then decided to stay at the Best Western across the interstate. Their biggest discount on rooms was the PCT discount, so that was nice! Got a good shower and a good bed for the night.
6/2: (0 miles hiked, but progress was still made) Wrightwood is where my next package was, so I had to get there. It's about 27.8 miles from Cajon Pass (where the McDonald's is). Unfortunately, those miles entail 5000 ft elevation gain, almost no water, and Poodle Dog Bush almost everywhere (the plant we're constantly warned about- like Poison Oak but worse, supposedly). I was also basically out of food (but could have bought more at the convenience stores). Wrightwood is a very PCT-friendly town and the hardware store keeps a list of all the trail angels and their contact info. They sent me this list and I was able to find someone to give me a ride from Cajon Pass to Wrightwood. Since then, I've got my package, eaten some food, and will be staying with another trail angel tonight before I reunite with the trail tomorrow. [I haven't hiked any PCT miles today but I still say "progress was made" because I jumped ahead 27.8 miles of trail]