I woke up in my skylit canyon "cabin," ready for some "real" food.
In less than a half mile, I was introduced to the roar of interstate highway rush hour traffic.
I soon approached the mythic McDonalds sign and it pointed the way to those much spoken of golden arches.
I paid my respects to this trusted American institution and received my 1,300+ calorie reward.
The novelty of eating fast food reminded me of the post soccer game meet ups of my youth, back when Michael Jordan was still peddling hamburgers.
Those calories carried me quite a ways. I climbed over 5,000 feet in elevation during the course of the day, covering about 20 miles in the process.
The pass was visible during most of the climb, the cars and trains shrinking by the mile.
The most challenging part of the day may have been avoiding this pernicious plant.
This stuff was all over a section of the trail. It pops up in areas that have recently burned and may be mother nature's way of tell us to leave the land alone so it can heal.
It was reaching out over the trail from both sides and felt like a gauntlet.
Much to our thirst quenching surprise, immediately after this section was over, Ed was waiting to give us some treats and reassure us that the worst was over, at least for today.
We climbed for several more miles and I stopped for the day when I started seeing snow.
I threw a snow ball at some friends that were breaking for dinner and then joined them in savoring the view of the now cloud covered pass below.
The sea of clouds made the far off mountain look like it was an island floating in the sky.
The chilly fog was starting to roll in further up the mountain, so I decided to hunker down for the night and tackle the summit in the morning.
It was cold down there at 8,100 feet, but as I later discovered, there were far more wintry conditions awaiting hikers at the campground near the summit.