Day 24 (Tuesday, May 10): Mojave Spillway (mi 313.43) to Cleghorn Picnic Area (mi 328.71), 15.28 miles. (up/down: +2465/-2061ft)
I woke up early, but was in no rush to leave camp as I planned on doing a fairly short day. Going about 15 miles today would leave me about 13 to get to McDonald’s the next. I also knew at some point, I would be getting to a lake, and possibly jumping in. I slowly packed up and headed out. Just after a few miles, I got to a stream where I could fill up – a bit better than the water at the spillway.
Not too far after my fill up, I had another rattlesnake encounter. I was listening to music and completely zoned out, day dreaming. All of a sudden I heard the loudest and harshest sounding rattle yet. I took a big step forward as I turned my head to see where the sound was coming from. All the while, that big step took me right off the trail – and I nearly fell. Thank goodness there was actually ground to step on off trail, unlike 15 feet before when there was a sandy drop off. I saw the rattler’s tail shaking – the first time I’ve seen a black tail. I quickly continued on my way, and didn’t stick around to see the whole thing. One of these days, I hope to safely take a pic of a rattlesnake – but all my encounters so far keep me walking as quick as possible.
It was getting HOT fast, and I kept looking for the lake I was suppose to come to. All I saw where small ponds in the distance. Eventually, the trail met and followed a road for a while. Still no signs of a lake. I dipped into some trees quick, where I found a cooler/trail magic. Unforuntely, most of the goods where already gone; but I took a single strawberry and it was delicious. The trail led back into the sun and up a steep incline. Finally I reached the top, and there is was – Silverwood Lake! Now I just had to get to it. Thankfully, the trail led back down and eventually met a trail side beach where others I had met a couple days back at Ziggy and the Bear were already relaxing and enjoying the water. I made my way down, stripped down and jumped in. Brr it was chilly, but felt amazing!
I hung out at the beach for nearly two hours, as more hikers joined. I had some lunch, dried out my sleeping bag and chilled in the shade. The same group I met back at the Oasis arrived, and found another place that would deliver pizza to the Picnic Area about 5 miles up and everyone was already planning their orders. On ward I went. Though, about half a mile later I realized I left my solar charger/battery behind. Chances were someone would find it and carry it to the next stop, but I didn’t want to press my luck. I ran back, yes ran..well about half the way, and got my charger. Sure enough, the couple from Boston had grabbed it and were going to bring it with them. Better safe then sorry.
I reached the Cleghorn Picnic Area not to long after, before 4pm I believe. The pizzas had already been ordered. There was shade, picnic tables, running water and flushing sinks! It was early, but I knew that is where I would be camping. There was a group of about 10 people, plus some others that came and went. The pizzas, sodas, and other goodies arrived from Roadhouse Pizza in Crestline arrived and everyone dug in! I threw in a few bucks for a few slices of veggie pizza. The folks at the restaurant were great. When they heard we were hikers, they loaded the pizzas with toppings. Anything is good on trail, but these were by far amazing. Full and content, I and everyone else just spread themselves out in the shade and the sun. Just a couple hours later, there was word of ordering MORE food. And sure enough, we met the $30 minimum and got more food – this time dessert: Cinnamon Puffs – again OMG delicious. And tomorrow would be McD’s. Food – always thinking of food.