Jacob Leistra / "Game Boy" / PCT 2019

Day 13: Pacing Ourselves Into Cabazon

Mile 197.2 -> Mile 209.5 -> Lyft to Cabazon and Banning

I cowboy camped in a windy night with a 50% chance of rain. I would have preferred to pitch my tarp, but with 40+ mph winds, it was just impossible to get a shelter setup. I was able to get some sleep and wake up around 4:30 AM with a wet bivy sack, wet quilt, and sandy face. The wind wasn’t kind, but it was what it was.

We got going before 6:00 AM and busted ass down the mountain. The views were gorgeous, the promise of In-N-Out was motivating, and the price of a motel ($70 for four of us) was too good to pass up.

Toucan, Trashalope, and I met up with Kaci at the last water before Cabazon. The plan to get a hotel was cemented, and at <$19 a person, we were psyched to shower and dry our stuff.

We arrived at the underpass of I-10 near Cabazon shortly after 10 AM. We had crushed over 12 miles in 3 hours and change, with a few small breaks of course. We tried to hitchhike on a busy section of the freeway, but a nearby car waved us over and we went to see about a ride. The guy at the wheel let us know he would get generously drive us to Cabazon (a whole 5 miles away) for $6… each person. Noticing the Lyft sticker on his car, we quickly pulled up the app and got a quote for $8.93 (for all four of us) to In-N-Out. In the nicest way, we told him to get bent, waited for him to drive off, and hailed a (different) Lyft to Cabazon.

After inhaling every menu item we could (Animal Style, of course), we began making plans to Lyft over to Banning to resupply at Walmart. My water filter was acting up, and I was pretty sure I froze it a couple nights past, so I wanted to grab a new one before heading up to Big Bear Lake. (Our Lyft to Walmart was in a Tesla Model X, so that was cool. You could tell the driver was a little offput by driving four smelly hikers 10 miles down the freeway.)

An hour or so later, we left Walmart with beer, snacks, and resupply food. We watched O’ Brother Where Art Thou and laughed about the shitty past couple of days.

You could say there’s a Newton’s Third Law of thru hiking: for each and every shitty day on the trail, there’s an equal and opposite positive day on the trail. But the truth is that for every bad day, there’s a much better day coming up. Every lousy day filled with rain, wind, and misery is followed up with a gorgeous day of hiking, views, and elation. Or at the very least, a hot shower, inside jokes, and cheap beer.

Main Photo: A view of the mountain we just descended near Whitewater, CA on May 22.