Paradise Valley Cafe
Beginning Elevation = 4,550
Ending Elevation = 5,600
Weather: Just lovely
I was hoping to sleep in a little longer this morning, but it was a no go. I walked past Marco to get on the trail at 6:30am. After about a half hour hiking, I caught up with Snickers…he had snuck ahead in the wee morning hours again. It was kind of a cool spot where we met overlooking a steep, heavily eroded hill side…It seemed very quick that we made it the cut-off trail towards Paradise Valley Cafe, which is a well-known restaurant to PCT hikers. It’s either a mile walk (or hitch down the road) off the trail around mile 152. We opted to walk. We thought we had been doing a lot of it, so why not do it some more?This place was great! When we first walked up, there were tents set up behind the restaurant from the night before. That’s not really my cup of tea, I’d rather be tenting out on the trail, but to each their own I suppose. Hike your own hike 😉. We did drop our packs though and make our way inside to find a table. There were already quite a few hikers enjoying their breakfast. I spotted a fellow hiker, Brian, who dad and I got along well with and so Snickers and I sat with him. Another hiker named David, who’s from the Chicago area, also breakfasted with us. I got some coffee and a breakfast burrito. The conversation was plentiful and the food even more so…I couldn’t even get myself to finish it, despite it being marvellously tasty.I wrapped up my leftover burrito in aluminum foil and we all kind of split. David and Brian jumped back on the trail, Snickers was setting up his tent (he wanted to resupply and rest his knee some more), and I chatted with mother Sheryl on the phone for a bit while sitting in the lawn. I then commenced to uploading my posts on here since cell service had been lacking the past couple days. It wasn’t great service near the restaurant either and this WordPress platform sometimes fights with me.
After this, Snicker said he was going into town to resupply. I figured I’d go with since I was lacking in my snack department. We headed over to the roadside and very quickly got a ride into the town of Anza. Our driver was very friendly. I believe her name was Corrine.
We quickly found what we needed in the small market and were back by the roadside. This was my longest wait for a ride yet (half hour-ish). We even had another hiker, Scarecrow, come over by us while waiting. He had done the same thing coming into town to get supplies and was also on his way back. I learned from these two experienced hitchers that having the three of us together isn’t necessarily the best way to increase our chances of getting picked up. So, we moved apart and soon after a truck came by who ended up grabbing all three of us. He was a local high school teacher. A very nice guy who told us about a new teaching opportunity that he’s interviewing for near Yosemite National Park (just a little bonus info. for you).
I really had not been planning on staying near this long in “town.” Once back by the restaurant though, I wanted to finish getting caught up on these posts. Unfortunately, I ran out of data and thus decided to pay the big bucks and upgrade to an unlimited plan. Look at me go. Soon after that was taken care of, I finished all my phone tasks and began getting ready to get hiking again! My burrito from this morning didn’t exactly sit well with me for most of the day, but by the afternoon I felt good enough to enjoy a banana and Gatorade…I then went in to the restaurant where the waitresses were kind enough to fill water bottles up for all of us hikers. When in there, I saw a familiar face from my first day on the trail, a girl named Mary who’s from England. We caught up a bit, then I stopped over to the hiker box (basically a tub full of stuff hikers leave that they no longer wish to carry). I dropped off the hat and whistle I’d been carrying that we found on trail, and picked up a thin foam pad that I’ll use to sit on rather than continue getting my butt dirty.Yes, those are shoes for the taking that someone must have replaced.
Finally, at 3:00pm I left the restaurant area to hike the mile back to trail! Once I reached it, however, I was instantly delayed. It was a very nice delay though…more trail magic. This is Jonathan aka Animal and his mom. He has hiked the Appalachian Trail and plans to hike the PCT from north to south later this year (so maybe I’ll see him again…in full backpacker mode). They were in the area visiting family for Easter and decided to spend some of their time bringing hikers snacks and drinks on the trail…Another hiker arrived while I was enjoying another Gatorade for the day (Animal’s mom was very persuasive in convincing me I needed something). His trail name was Seth Rogen and sure enough I had to look a couple times to make sure it wasn’t actually the actor. Talked and looked just like him.
I got in my head a bit too much today, having feelings that I shouldn’t have been sitting around at the Cafe, thinking I should be getting more miles in (heard lots of folks telling that they’re doing 20+ already), and questioning whether I should speed up/slow down to try and stick with a group of hikers. These thoughts followed me once I finally started walking. It wasn’t till I was set up at camp that I think I got my head straight again. I don’t have any answers of how I plan to go forward other than just to be in the moment more and not worry about it.
Maybe I should start meditating… apparently a hiker named Pegasus that I met meditates along the side of the trail for an hour each day!
I got into some gnarly rock today and saw some humongous pine trees with super pine cones…I was quite proud of the camp site I found. Rather than push more miles to get to a known tenting area, I found a spot on my own. You can do this anywhere along the trail as long as your practicing “leave no trace” and are a certain distance away from water sources. I heard one hiker call it “going stealth.”Dinner tonight was a Dave H special, “Casserole Delicious.” I’m not entirely sure what it was made up of, but I did enjoy it.
I hadn’t taken my shoes off all day, something I typically do once or twice at breaks. This is a new way of lacing my shoes I learned from Snickers (a marathon runner) that utilizes that last hole. Basically, “you loop it, you swoop it, and you pull.”After dinner, my routine has become to wash up a bit before getting into my sleeping bag. Basically rinsing my hands and feet as best I can with water, wet wipes, and hand sanitizer. Tonight, I’d already done that and then realized that one of the best sunsets yet was going on. I was tucked away in a little Live Oak Grove (different variety than what we’d seen earlier on the trail) and could only see partially out through the trees. Thus, I put back on my trail runners and scrambled out of the tent to go observe. Up the trail I leapt like a stinking gazelle. Soon I found the perfect spot for photo taking and viewing…One of my goals for the trail is to sit on a nice mountainous overlook and view a sunrise or sunset while enjoying a rich cup of java.