Miles Hiked: 14.8
Total Mileage: 151.8
I woke up to sunrise this morning. By 5:45 I was packed up and hiking. Last night I cowboy camped for the first time on this trail. It ended up being pleasant. I really like cowboy camping but the California desert has been creeping me out with all the rattle snakes, scorpions, and tarantulas. I don’t want to see any of the above. The bugs were a bit bothersome and I wished I had a bivi. Maybe I will try out that method of camping on this trail sometime soon. Chewy doesn’t carry a tent at all and she has inspired me to want to be a little more minimalist. I keep telling myself I am saving that style of backpacking for a different and shorter trail.
I could tell it was going to be a hot day at 6am. I took my puffy and fleece dress off earlier than any other day. I was drinking as much water as I could before I got to the water cache known as Mary’s Oasis. She is another trail angel who lets hikers use her water tank as a source. I’m so thankful for all the help from locals! Otherwise my pack would be way heavier than it already is with all the water carries. At Mary’s I saw Jeffrrr who I met on the CDT. He is hiking with his girlfriend this year. It was nice to see a familiar face! I talked to some other hikers before pushing on. I wanted to make sure I got to Paradise Valley Cafe before they closed at the next road crossing. The restaurant is a must stop for PCT hikers. It’s only a mile off trail. I planned to eat at the restaurant and then hitch hike to the town of Idyllwild for my first full day off trail.
When I got to the road crossing that leads one mile to Paradise Valley Cafe, I turned left onto a dirt trail under some power lines and walked to the restaurant. It was blazing hot in the heat of the day and I was thankful I was able to hike the 14.8 miles by noon. I saw some police cars outside and overhead that they just shut down the road for a fatal car accident. A man was yelling and offering for one more hiker to jump in his car and go to Idyllwild. It was my plan to go to town anyways so I ran over and got in. Three other hikers named Eagle Eye, Sammy, and Caveman were in the car. The man gets in the driver’s seat and introduces himself as “Grumpy”. He starts talking very loudly 100 miles an hour all the way to town. I was a bit overwhelmed to say the least but very thankful for the ride. I was so exhausted I could barely socialize anyways. My face was covered in salt from my sweat. Grumpy informed me that everywhere in town is currently booked because it’s the weekend. He gave me the number of a hiker looking for someone to fill some extra beds at a hotel room. I gathered that he is a trail angel and he has been driving hikers around all day long just making trips between Paradise Valley Cafe and Idyllwild.
When he finally dropped us off in the center of town after giving us a whole tour while talking like an auctioneer I got to say hi and get to know the other hikers I was with. Turns out they needed a 6th person for an Air B&B they had reserved right outside of town. Because everything was all booked it was a last option. Since it was too early to check in to the place, we all got lunch, ice cream and did our resupply activities. I had a large California Cobb salad and a milkshake before walking to the local supermarket to buy three days of food for the next section of trail. I had a lot of fun hanging out with everyone in town.
The house we rented was very nice and had three rooms with very large beds. I shared a room with Sammy and had the best sleep I’ve had in so long. I was a happy hiker tonight.