Day 14: Paradise Valley Cafe

April 28th
Total mileage: 161
Today’s mileage: 19
PCT-Section-B_161

Mile 142 to 151, plus 1 to cafe, then 9 on to Hurkey Creek campground

Reached Paradise Valley Cafe! Woot! Everyone was really, really looking forward to this pit stop. It is a little cafe on the edge of the desert with about 6 motorcycles on the side and 25 hikers here. There is already a sense of validity by reaching this place. I just enjoyed an enormous burger, fries, and am nursing my second blonde ale.

20150428_112348_Paradise Valley Cafe with Skyline, Taters, Darko, Six-2
Right to left: Six-2, Darko, Taters and Skyline. This was the first time I met Skyline, a Navy vet from Ohio. We would see each other often all the way until Belden, and shared many great moments, including, surprisingly, the little town of Sierra City. The other two, Darko & Taters, I first met at the Senior Center in Warner Springs. We had great fun in Tehachapi, and later reunited again in Bishop.

20150428_112329_Paradise Burger

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20150428_104353_Canadian at Paradise Valley

As we prepared to head back out, Taters read information to us about a possible alternative route around the trail closure.

As we prepared to head back out, Taters read information to us about a possible alternative route around the closed segment of trail. I’m rocking my sunbrella already. Photo courtesy of Six-2.

It is remarkable how easy it is to hike when you know it's a town day. The miles just fall by the wayside.
It is remarkable how easy it is to hike when you know it’s a town day. The miles just fall by the wayside.

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Funny that we spent good money at the Paradise Cafe, and they still hid the key to the restroom (o.O) but here we found a very inviting throne later in the day. The differences that only 9 miles can make!
Funny that we spent good money earlier in the day at the Paradise Valley Cafe, and they still hid the key to the restroom (o.O) but here we found a very inviting throne for free later in the day. The differences that only 9 miles can make!
20150428_191250_En route to Idyllwild
Ragged around the edges.

The next 15 miles are a little in flux. The official trail is closed for 3 miles due to fire in past seasons, so there is a series of alternate trails to make up ground. None of them are official alternate routes. Some hikers are taking an 8 mile road walk to Idyllwild. It is hard to know which route to take, as the alternate routes are not well documented at all on trail, so it requires course-finding and a huge water carry. The problem is that I’m not as fast as most of the other hikers, I just often catch them in the evenings…so I am reluctant to do a lengthy unofficial alternate ridge alone in this heat when there’s the very real possibility that I’ll reach a junction that has no signage and no one else nearby. I think the safest option is to do a dirt road that parallels the highway to Idyllwild, as it still maintains continuous footsteps.

Several past thru-hikers have told me that Idyllwild is one of their favorite trail towns, so we all have high expectations.

UPDATE: Two women pulled over and offered us rides to Idyllwild, even though we weren’t hitching. And yes, we declined. The locals are very kind and supportive.

We hiked a bit further to Hurkey Creek campground and had a cold night of cowboy AND ninja camping. Quite a feat.

A kind local bought us a pack of deep-fried "donettes". He then pulled his pickup over and waited for us to reach this native American mortar & pestle site. (I think the Cahuilla tribes call it a metate.)
A kind local bought us a pack of deep-fried “donettes”. He then pulled his pickup over and waited for us to reach this native American mortar & pestle site. (I think the Cahuilla tribes call it a metate.)
Due to the first fire closure of the trail, we had a partial road walk to Idyllwild. You could see and smell the smoke from forest fires on the horizon.
Due to the first fire closure of the trail, we had a partial road walk to Idyllwild. You could see and smell the smoke from forest fires on the horizon.

One thought on “Day 14: Paradise Valley Cafe”

  1. It’s great to reading about the trail communities that form at each pit stop. The pictures are amazing…thanks for taking us along with you.

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