Day 10: 4/18/14, PCT Mile 151.9

Miles hiked today: 14.9 on the PCT, plus 1 mile to get to the Paradise Valley Cafe
Camped at: n/a, in Idyllwild at the Knotty Pine Cabins for the first zero day tomorrow

If looks could kill, I’d be smeared on the road. Well, that’s an exaggeration but I do feel some chagrin about this, we certainly laughed hard about it afterwards. How long have I been a professional hiker?! I totally destroyed a yogi-ing ride opportunity today, shame on me. Susan and Barrel, a really nice hiker we’ve been leapfrogging with the past few days, got to the road crossing before Hemlock and I early this afternoon – we were all planning on walking the mile to the Paradise Valley Cafe for a meal then hitching into Idyllwild. It hadn’t been clear if there was a side trail or if we’d have to road walk on the rural highway, never a popular option. The side trail did exist, with 2 cute little red signs with the restaurant name on them. I had seen Susan at the road crossing itself as we descended the ridge, so dropped my pack and went bounding down the trail to exuberantly exclaim that we found the side trail and could easily walk it! Now, keep in mind that Susan and Barrel had just walked past that intersection themselves. Too late, I noticed a third person sitting by them, and a convenient truck in the background. While the gentleman had been waiting for a friend to resupply them, it was glaringly obvious he would have given us a ride 1 mile down the road. To add insult to injury, there was a sign posted stating hikers could get a free ride to the restaurant by calling the number posted. However, I had been so enthusiastic it would have been an obvious and insincere about-face to change our minds. Thus, the dirty looks from my fellow hikers. Even worse, Susan wasn’t feeling the best and today of all days may have benefitted from a ride for that mile. Well….we did see a large rattlesnake on the side trail! While for most snake-fearing folks that would have been further salt in the wound, Susan was actually looking forward to seeing one, go figure. It was a gorgeous snake, but I much preferred the little guy I almost stepped on earlier in the day:

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Food motivation can get a hiker up and out early in the morning, that’s for sure. We had 16 miles to Paradise Valley Cafe, and I really wanted to get there for second lunch. Mission accomplished, despite the ride fiasco! It was a lovely morning hiking up and down valleys, often with a cooling breeze. The clouds at times looked ominous, and there was some talk about a mythical 5 droplets of rain, but no precipitation on this gal :). Before I stopped for lunch, my “pups were barking”, no doubt left over from the long mileage yesterday, which drastically improved with calories and some time out of the shoes. Imagine that – give your feet some love and they will carry you a long way :).

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The folks at Paradise Valley Cafe are incredibly hiker friendly, don’t miss this place if you ever hike this section of the PCT. Simply awesome food – I gorged happily on a root beer float, side salad, and a massive burger. I gleefully opened my mayday umbrella box from Mom (including some awesome Easter candy from Malley’s back home, thanks Mom!!) so Mr Gimpy could be “honorably retired”. Here I am loving the new umbrella and saying goodbye to Mr Gimpy, note the nearby trash can!

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After possibly the world’s easiest hitch with Marcie who didn’t hesitate to let 3 dirty hikers into her pristine car, she drove us into town while we happily traded backpacking stories. Thanks again Marcie!!

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