PCT Day 13

April 25, 2019

Mary’s place (145.4) to mile 159.7, 14.3 PCT miles, no off trail miles!

Running total: 167.6
Today we woke up excited for breakfast! 6.4 trail miles away (+ 1 mile off trail) lives the Paradise Valley Cafe- a very thru-hiker friendly cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our plan was to hike there for breakfast, stay for lunch while we waited out the hottest hours, and then hike to mile 159 to camp for the night.
Waking up, She-Wee cowboy camping
My stomach was rumbling as we set out for the cafe. It was a climb of about 600 feet from lowest to highest point, with baby climbs in between. We also hit the 150mile marker!

As we reached the last, flat section to the road, we passed a girl named Chirp who showed us some trail magic! Two trail angels, Ferris and 5star, had set up coolers with beer, soda, jerky, and granola bars and were spending the day shuttling hikers back and forth from the trail to the cafe- so cool! BUT, according to Chirp, they were going to eat lunch before coming back again, so we were shit out of luck. We did enjoy their trail magic, though- Matt had a jerky stick and a beer while I ate a granola bar.

We then walked down to the road, where we were really hoping to secure a hitch vs having to walk that one mile off trail to the cafe. Walking with our thumbs out, a few cars passed before one stopped for us- turns out it was a super chill guy from San Diego whose family owns a hostel in Big Bear- we will be looking it up prior to our arrival to Big Bear!
It was around 1030 when we arrived to the cafe. Matt and I were tired and hungry, so were happy to have a table to ourselves to just chill and stuff our faces with breakfast. We got alllll the beverages (juice, water, tea, and coffee for me!) and omelettes. The late morning quickly turned to early afternoon and we were feeling more social. We charged our phones and chatted with some of the other hikers. We were soon joined by Preston, and by that time Matt and I were ready for lunch. Matt and Preston got burgers and beer and I got a bigass salad (need to get my greens when I can!!) Eventually Corey joined us as well.

As the time neared that we should be hitting the trail, the cafe lost power- and with the power, their well water. No bathrooms, no drinking water. Shit. Matt and I still had a few liters left, but again- it was hot, and I was NOT liking my upcoming water options- either nearly dry algae creek water or long steep climbs off trail. We were lucky, though- some people didn’t have water at all!!

Once we were able to square away the bill (no credit cards with no power!) Matthew, Mantra, Preston and I jumped in the car with Grumpy, a trail angel from Idyllwild. He dropped us off at the trailhead, where we slowly did our last minute prep for our late afternoon hike.

I had originally said that my goal was to hike to 159- but it was still hot and our food (and Matt’s 2.5 beers…) sat heavy in our stomachs. Preston tapped out at the first (green) water source, mile 155 I believe? (beer was a bad choice…)

At mile 158 Matt and I came to the next water source + tent site- the water was a steep climb down a side slope, and since we weren’t desperate and we were both tired, we decided to hike on the nearly 2 miles more to the next possible tent site.

Matthew contemplating the climb for water and our future water options

The sun was setting (prime mountain lion time!!), and we were still climbing. FINALLY we came to the tent sites- there were already a few set up (a new Corey and Sunscar occupied the tent next to ours, and on the other side we had Woodpecker and Bear Chills.). Matt set up the tent while I chatted with Corey and Sunscar. (Corey is a photographer- look at his pics on Instagram- livingthepct.) I slipped into the tent, still full from lunch, while Matthew force-fed himself snacks for dinner. Tomorrow we had a big-ass climb to look forward to, with a long side hike for water. Goodnight!

Happiness is: the Paradise Valley Cafe – not only are they super chill with dirty, smelly through hikers spending their days at the cafe, they also allow hikers to spend the night on their property- either in the yard or on their patio! They leave a bathroom open for hikers and offer access to water! And omg! Rides! There is a sign at the trailhead that said we could call the cafe for a ride if needed- and while we were there the owner actually offered to drive a table full of hikers back to the trail- like I said, super chill!! (Also, a signed Bruce Springsteen poster hangs in the restaurant, written out to the owner!)

ALSO!! Omg! When the power went out and many hikers were left without water, one of the restaurant’s dishwashers gave us a case of water she had had in the trunk of her car- what?!?! So many amazing people in this world! (But also, why can’t we be this nice to homeless people?!??)

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