Day 16: Bud Lights and Hot Summer Nights

I tried waking up Kelsey, but she quickly assured me that she wished to go at it alone for a while. I left camp around 7: 55am, heading downhill and leaving the Mt. San Jacinto area. Walking down I saw views of the San Gabriel Mountains that I had never seen before, and seeing this made me happy that I was now in my hometown stretch. As the switchbacks continued, the landscape became more desert like. Mile after mile, the temperature rose, until its peak at the desert floor: 105 degrees. The last four miles of the twenty-three mile day were by far the hardest, a sandy stretch that led up to I-10 at Cabazon . . one exit east of Casino Morongo. I turned the last corner that led up to the interstate and immediately saw a small gathering of hikers and hikers-alike hanging around three ice chests. I walked over and opened the first of the three coolers and inside were about seventy or so ice-cold beers. What lay inside chests two and three were irrelevant to me at this point because I had hit the jackpot with #1. My day had turned from an incredibly challenging and difficult day, to one of the most rewarding evenings. A trail angel was giving rides to the In N Out that was a few miles away, it really was a perfect ending to a hard days hike. That night I was able to check something off of my bucket list: sleeping underneath I-10. Why I thought this would be cool is so beyond me now, it was literally one of the worst nights sleep I had ever had. Every thirty minutes a train would go overhead, and with every semi-truck that passed I would be wake up dazed and startled. I also made the huge mistake of drinking quite a few beers from that cooler. I would not get too buzzed on this night, but the next day would prove to be one of the most difficult days of my life.

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