Shortly after we started hiking, we passed the 500 mile marker, a 500 formed with small rocks. Actually, we passed three of 500 mile markers, the precise location of the 500 mile point apparently being a matter of some uncertainty. Of course, with the additional 13 miles we hiked on the official frog reroute these markers actually signified 513 miles for us, our personal 500 milestone passing without marker or ceremony yesterday.
We spent much of our morning pushing through dense thickets of brush that grew over the trail. Sharp branches and spines scraped across our packs, arms, legs, and occasionally even our faces, gouging our sleeping pads and removing small pieces of skin.
By midday the trail opened up to grassy hillsides scattered with large, stately oaks. We stopped for lunch underneath an oak with a trunk too thick to encircle even with two pairs of arms. A broken limb, with a circumference larger than that of most tree trunks, provided comfortable seats.
After lunch we dropped into Pine Canyon, where we met Grandpa's Traveling Oasis. Armed with cold drinks and frozen drinks we continued down the hot and dusty trail. A large sign commanded "Stay on Trail! PCT Adjacent to Hunt Club!". Thankfully the dates on the sign indicated that PCT hikers are not currently in season (the club operates from September through April). Nevertheless, we moved quickly when we heard gunfire in the canyon below.
We reached Highway 138 just in time for dinner, and were whisked away for a delicious and filling dinner at the Olive Garden. We will return to the trail tomorrow, rested and refueled.