I’ve been pushing 20-22 miles a day since leaving Mount Laguna. Today was difficult. Most of the trail was covered in rocks, that made my feet ache. On top of that, it was much hotter than the past few days and the heat radiated off of the rocks.
Each mile seemed to drag on and I counted the miles to the next water source. Midday, a group of us stopped at a water tank on a Trail Angel’s property known as Mike’s Place. There was plenty of shade and cold drinks, so we lounged for a couple hours. It was a nice reprieve from the blistering sun.
Sonya, Left, Right and I slowly drug ourselves from the lawn chairs at Mike’s Place to make our way to camp. It was still so hot and we made many stops in the small shade provided by the manzanitas as we climbed up.
We finally made it to our campsite at 6:30pm. The water source was another quarter mile down a steep hill. We were greatly disappointed, as the water smelled disgusting and had an orange color to it. Even after filtering and adding flavor tabs to it, it was disgusting. This was our water for most of the next day, so we all cherished the little water we had left from Mike’s Place, hoping it would be enough.
We got up early, knowing it would be another blistering hot day. The Paradise Cafe was about 15 miles away and stories of the famous burgers spread amongst the group. Ahhh a place to hide from the sun, eat and drink beer. Everyone ran, pushing hard to get to the cafe by noon.
Along the way, there was a trail angel stop. At the corner of the trail angel’s property, they built a little oasis. There was water, a picnic table, candy and a free library. They had named the area Walden. It was a great pit stop on our rush to the highway.
There was more trail magic once we reached the highway. Some past hikers, including Double Tap, who maintains the water report so we know which springs are and where to get more water. They gave out fruit and cold sodas and tea.
Sonya and I got a hitch from a woman to the Cafe. Then we lounged for a few hours, eating and visiting with other hikers we hadn’t seen for a while. The big discussion was about the fire route. There was a closed burned section up ahead that had an alternate route. We could either hitch from the cafe to the next town, Idyllwild, to skip the alt route. Or we could walk 15 miles of the PCT, then take a forest road to the highway. From the highway, you could hitch to Idyllwild or walk the 8.5 miles on the highway into town.
We decided to continue on the PCT and left the cafe in the afternoon. We went another 5 miles before making camp. That left us with about 13 miles to do the next day and hitch from the highway to Idyllwild.