Friday, May 1, 2015

Day 8 : Camp at PCT Mile 162

Friday May 1, 2015
24 Miles Today
163 Total Miles



Today was a long slog through arid deserty terrain. It started before the sun at three fifty eight. I looked at my phone and that was the time. Oh man, already? I could hear the others already stirring. Time to start the day. 



Uh Oh, an almost empty water cache!







Starting the day is a routine. I follow the same steps in the same order every morning to make the evolution from laying flat on my back to standing upright, fed, with my backpack on ready to hike as efficient as possible. I struggle with making changes because it means I might forget something or pull something back out of my pack that I have already put away. 

The steps include stuffing my sleeping bag back into its sack, deflating my mattress, eating breakfast, heating water for coffee, putting my stove away, packing my lunch, stuffing my pockets with hiking snacks, and other small sub steps I'm leaving out. Anyway it takes lots of concentration and it's hard to carry on a conversation while doing all these things. Today I somehow was ready second and left the camp second behind Moonburn. I past her in a few minutes and then about thirty minutes later Emir caught up to me and we hiked half the morning together. He needed to make a pit-stop, so I said, "you'll catch up." And I kept walking, and walking, and walking, and walking. Just like in Winnie the Pooh, I walked right into the next page. It seemed like forever but it was really five straight hours. 

I got to Paradise Cafe at ten forty five. Which means I got there with fifteen minutes to spare on the breakfast menu, so I ordered pancakes. Paradise Cafe is one of the highlights of hiking the PCT. They are super hiker friendly and go out of their way to treat hikers well. I want to thank all the previous hikers that have passed through and were respectful friendly and left good tips. I was the recipient of a ton of goodwill. I did my part to pay-it-forward for future hikers. If you ever hike the PCT you have to go to Paradse Cafe. You can sit out on the patio under large umbrellas shaded from the sun. I took off my shoes, they have live music that is perfect ambience for eating enormous helping of awesome food. I sat around for about an hour chatting with the other hikers then I ordered the Jose burger for lunch. 
The awesome Jose Burger

Live music


Mocha Shake

I learned from the other hikers that everyone one of them were planning on skipping the next ten miles of open PCT trail due to the Mountain Fire Closure. There is an 'unofficial' route around the closure so it really surprised me that everyone of them were opting for a seventeen mile hitchhike into Idylwild. 

I have heard that Idylwild is another super awesome hiker friendly town so I can understand the interest in going there, the unofficial route takes you right by there so I was still surprised. Anyway, so while everyone else stood on the other side of the road I started walking up my side of the road with my thumb out and immediately got a one mile ride back up to the trail. When I got there a whole host of other hikers were waiting to be picked up by the Cafe people (like I said, they go the extra mile, pun intended, for hikers). They too were all shocked that I was hiking this section as they all intended to skip it too. That's when Honeystick said , "your trail name should be No-Skip".

Interesting idea, however since I have been hiking this part of the trail I have found that there are other no-skippers besides me. 

So here I am camped on a tiny site perched on the edge of the abyss overlooking Palm Springs. The elevation is sixty two hundred feet. I don't know what the temperature in Palm Springs is tonight, but I can tell you it's going to be a lot colder up here because it already is cold. It actually feels good after way-too balmy nights sleeping down in the desert.



Trail so unused you can see hoof prints embedded in the dried mud.




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