Today started a bit late by hiker standards, as we didn't start hiking until about 8:00am. We started the day with some trail magic oranges we had picked up the night before. It was already getting pretty warm which was not a good sign, but we headed off and hiked about 3 miles through the sand to I-10, and to our delight there was Kay, a trail angel, delivering cold soda and watermelon! We stopped to take a break and enjoy the sugary hydration of both the watermelon and soda, and then pressed on.
The desert heat was oppressive, and made worse by the fact that there was no breeze to help keep us cool. We could also see a good sized wind farm up the hill where we were going... None of them were spinning. Luckily for us though, there was a little office where the folks at the wind farm took breaks and ate lunch and they opened their doors to thru-hikers offering air conditioning, ice cold water, and a freezer full of everything I wasn't allowed to eat growing up!
After the break, we pressed on and got in some decent miles through the San Gorgonio Wilderness, before dropping back down to a river. At a trail junction near the river, there was a sign that said there was trail magic at the Whitewater Natural Preserve with burgers, hotdogs, fruit, and soda. We needed no other prodding to take another break, and it was about lunchtime, so we headed off trail 1/4 mile to the magic.
The trail angel Brian offered up everything as promised in the note and even had salad! We ate, then rinsed off in the wading pond they had there, then threw the frisbee around, and ate some more. A few hours after we got there an older couple, who have a daughter hike the PCT a few years ago, came by and brought even more food! We also met the ranger at the park and he said they were going to do a beer run later if we were interested, which of course we were!
At 7:00pm a couple of the other hikers started talking about doing a little night hiking to reduce the amount we would have to do to get into Big Bear. At 8:00pm Bloodbath, Colin, Outlaw, Speedbump, and I set off and made our way a couple miles down the trail before cowboy camping on some soft sand near the river. The moon was so bright that it cast shadows as we walked. It was a beautiful night.
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