One of questions many people ask, including Don, was how come a trail running from Mexico to Canada is over 2600 miles long. Don quickly found out why as the trail slowly worked its way up to the ridge that separated lake and pass. At one point the trail covered at least half a mile to travel about 50 feet further up the hill. The picture at right is from atop the ridge looking toward the pass, still over 8 miles away.
It is so easy to get caught up in some of the big views that you miss the little things. The little green ball at left is the fruit of a vine that seems to be pretty common in the area, although I seldom saw it fruiting. This green spiky fruit is a couple of inches across and must be good eating. Mostly I see empty husks, although I have no idea what it is that is able to penetrate the armor.
5/8 Update: Apparently this is a Cucamonga Manroot. Thanks Joanne.
Southern California has lots of unusual plants that I find fascinating. The are so different than what I am used to, and mostly seem to thrive with little or no water.
There are train tracks that run through the same pass as I-15. There seems almost always to be at least one train in sight. Here you see one going in each direction.
The trail has been slowly ascending a last low ridge when it suddenly turns to avoid this cliff. It looks like the hill was made of sand and rock and storms have been washing it away. The trail winds around this cliff side for a while, walking right along the edge. Kind of spooky to look over the side and not be able to see the slope below you.
Last year I saw a number of plants that had this strange looking stringy stuff all wrapped around it. I looked closer at it here and it appears to be some kind of parasitic plant. In addition to the random strings that resemble a cobweb, there are some of them that are wrapped tightly around the stems of the host plant. Don’t know what it is, but have seen it periodically.
5/8 Update: This parasite is called Dodder and has an interesting life cycle. Thanks again Joanne.
The bro-in-law ambling along the trail. Don helped to build the PCT as an Eagle Scout a few years ago and this is his first return to it.
From Cajon Pass, there is only 2296 miles left until getting to Canada, and generally 4-5 more months of walking.
And 342 miles in the books. Most hikers have spent 3-4 weeks getting to this point and are getting their trail legs under them. Many of them are starting to walk 20-25 miles a day; day after day after day.