Snakes and McDonald’s

Miles: 325.5 to 351.8

Mileage: 26.3

Day: 18


The sun hit us early on the lake shore. We woke to find dew on everything. Even though we woke up around 6 a.m., we didn’t start hiking until after 7 because we let our sleeping bags dry in the sun for a bit. 

Our first water source was a few miles into the day, but whatever we collected needed to last about 13 miles. And those 13 miles were hot. We climbed until we were in sight of Interstate 15 and then we dropped, fast. 

The wind forced me in whatever direction it willed and I just tried to keep my sunglasses from flying off my face.

The heat of the day made my feet ache and I found myself wishing I was sitting inside the McDonald’s. (Yes, Dad. You read that right). 

A McDonald’s at a rest stop on I-15 was the only water source in a 40-miles stretch. (See? It was coercion, Dad).

Throughout the morning we stopped for a few garter snakes to cross the trail. (We saw a very lethargic rattlesnake a couple of days before, but it wouldn’t even rattle at us. Lame.)

We got to the oasis McDonald’s around 1:45 p.m., ordered two McFlurries and two large fries and sat. Sitting feels so nice these days. 


They made me do it.
The joint was a mix of dirty hikers and clean Interstate folk. A group of hikers was getting a room or two at the Best Western nearby, but Richard and I wanted to push on. 

We knew a huge climb was in our future and wanted to get started on it.

As we were walking the 0.4 miles back to the trail, we found a rattlesnake in poor condition. Someone had run it over in their car and it’s guts were coming out in a couple of places. It was still alive, but just barely. 


poor rattle snake.
It took over an hour of hiking to get out of the I-15 corridor. And the wind followed us the whole way. 

We stopped for another snake partway up. It was black and white striped and rattle its tail at us despite it not having a rattle. 


Daddy, what kind of snake is this?
By 6:30, we’d hit our mileage goal for the day, we just had to find a spot to pitch our tent partway up a steep climb. 

Two miles later, we found a flat spot about a fifth of a mile down a dirt road the PCT crossed. The vantage actually looked down on the Interstate. It was kind of pretty watching the red and white stripes of lights curve down the valley. 

4 thoughts on “Snakes and McDonald’s

  1. That looks like a king snake, a predator of rattlesnakes.
    happy trails and tails or tales,

  2. The black and white snake is a king snake. They are known to kill and eat rattlesnakes, and are not venomous. They also come in yellow and black.

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