Day 14 - Paradise Valley Cafe
Even though I knew breakfast was waiting for me in Paradise Valley, I just didn't feel like getting up early. The rocky campsite looked just as cool in the morning. I discovered that I had sand and dust all in my sleeping bag from leaving my gaiters on. So much dust everywhere! Also, last night I decided to put my camera in my bag, so I spent some time cleaning the dust out with the plastic toothpick on my knife, which mostly worked. Most of the people headed out before I finished, except Steve, Dan, Dave and Brandon. Brandon was still in his tent.
I hiked to the water stop, called Walden. A sticker on a little free library there reads "Books you don't need in a place you can't find." I got more water and headed in to the cafe. On the way, I met Satchmo, an big friendly guy, and a couple he knows from Rochester, New York, Chelsea and Josh. Cocoa from Brazil was also hiking with us.
There were some great views in the stretch to the highway, walking along sandy cliffs. A lot of up and down, down into rocky canyons and back out.
When I reached the highway, there were people trying to get a hitch to Paradise Valley Cafe. A husband and wife pulled over and gave me and Cameron and Josh a ride, their daughter is hiking the trail and instead of waiting around to meet her they decided to give rides.
When I got to the restaurant, Daniel was sitting with James. Daniel actually ran all the way here last night, which was a 22 mile day for him. I sat with them and ate a veggie burger with avocado, a salad and fries. They accidentally brought me a salad with cheese, so Daniel and James got to split it. You get free stuff sometimes if you dine with a vegan. Everyone there was talking about the Mountain Fire trail closure ahead and whether they were doing the alternate around it or just going straight to Idyllwild and skipping that section. Don't worry, mom, there's any a current fire, it's from a fire in 2014 that messed up the trail and it's been closed since then. Hikers have gotten steep fines if caught on the closed part of the trail. The alternate route looked not so great, a good amount of roadwalking. However, if you skipped it you would also miss about 13 miles of PCT between Paradise Valley Cafe and the closure. For me, I would hate to get to Canada and know that I skipped 13 miles of trail in the beginning. However, the idea that I might not have continuous footsteps from Mexico to Canada doesn't bother me. Brandon got there as we were finishing up, but we hung out until he was done. Brandon and James decided to skip ahead and hitch into Idyllwild. Daniel and I decided to hike the part of the alternate that goes from Paradise Valley to the closure, then it turns down back to the road.
The other thing a lot of people were concerned about was poodle dog bush. Sounds cute, doesn't it? Apparently some people can be very allergic to it, like poison ivy. It grows up after a fire especially, and the allergens can get on you via the wind also. There was a warning that there was some on the trail and some people were skipping because of it. James showed us pictures of some young plants that we had already passed.
Daniel and I hiked out from the cafe. The trail went uphill past some huge rock walls and boulders. Daniel saw a spot that looked easy to climb but the rock was too crumbly. We saw a good amount of young poodle dog bush growing next to the trail. Daniel started calling it bitch face bush since poodle dog bush is hard to say. Easier just to yell "Bitch!" The German brothers Felix and Alex passed us and we passed Susanna from southern California.
We ended up camping about 4 miles past Paradise Valley Cafe near a water source. We cowboy camped and watched the shooting stars.