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Silverwood Redux

May 21, 2016

Once again I stealth camped at Silverwood Lake after arriving late in the evening.  This time the delay was due in part to having to stop along the way in order make a cache of food and water at Guffy Campground north of Wrightwood.  This section through the Angeles National Forest is challenging for horses due to the lack of water (that's getting to be a familiar theme, isn't it?).  Last time in 2014 my mother had picked us up and driven us to a stable for the night because I hadn't yet figured out the caching strategy, but this time I planned ahead.  We stopped at the trailhead where the PCT crosses Highway 2 and the road to Guffy begins then unloaded the horses and unhitched the trailer to avoid hauling on the rutted dirt road.  Mom stayed behind to watch Shyla and Takoda while I took the truck to the campground, where I think I startled several hikers who were already settled in for the night when I arrived.  I stashed the hay and water for our arrival the next day, then went back and picked up my mother and the horses and the trailer so that we could continue on to Silverwood.  It was cold and windy up on the mountain, and just as windy but balmier by the lake.  In fact, all night long the wind raged and shook my tent, and every time I looked outside there were ribbons of cloud racing across the sky, turned white and ghostly in the bright full moon.  It was probably one of the windiest nights I had ever spent on the trail, but there was more fun to come . . .

 

In the morning the horses and I set out northbound this time from Silverwood, and I definitely created some confusion for my fellow hikers.  I met some of the same people I had seen on the previous weekend when I was going southbound, but this time I caught up and passed them going the other direction!  I definitely got a lot of curious looks and had some explaining to do!

 

The difference between hiking and riding the trail was also made evident during a brief stop that I made when we got to Interstate 15.  There is a fairly "famous" hiker spot here just before the undercrossing in the Cajon Pass at a McDonald's on the south side of the road.  It's a chance to satisfy some trail cravings for hamburgers and fries and a shake, and also a water source to stock up for the long dry climb into the Wrightwood area, and I saw lots of hikers kicking back and lounging around at the restaurant.  But no such luck for me.  The horses were make nervous by all the noise from big trucks and speeding cars whizzing by on the freeway, and there wasn't any kind of secure place where I could feel safe tying them up, even if they hadn't been acting so skittish.  I found the sturdiest looking bush I could locate off to the side of the trash-strewn parking lot and tied them to it, then raced into McDonald's to try to get something to eat and had to wolf down my meal (I didn't even wait around for the fries to be done), After that I ran next door to the gas station to buy four gallons of water to carry with me in the pack saddle for the horses, as it would have taken too long to fill the bladders I had brought with me at the very-much-in-demand water faucet.  I was back on the trail before most of the other hikers had even managed to loosen their backpack straps or get in line for food.  But later that day I was glad I took the time to stop and buy the water, as it was a hot, tiring uphill ascent away from the Cajon Pass and the horses were grateful that I had water for them to drink along the way, since there was nothing else available in terms of springs or streams.

 

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