We woke at 6am and broke camp quickly knowing we didn't have enough water for coffee. We talked with Pillsbury while she broke camp and she headed out about a half hour before us. We ate a limited breakfast as our food bags were extremely low and hit the trail.
We started to climb immediately and Josh had to stop to dump rocks out of his shoes. I check to see of I had cell service and emailed the water report and posted to Facebook that the cache was empty. Hopefully people won't rely on those caches!
After two miles we came across a note on the trail pointing us to trail magic! Some kind soul left water and a hiker box at a picnic table and we went down to check it out. We found pop tarts, which we ate and some caffeinated spiced chai tea which we traded our decaf for. (Thanks Brita!) Shortly after we arrived, Glimmer, Teddy Rose and Happy Feet came down the trail and we chatted. Glimmer caught a glimpse of a tattoo I have on my wrist that says Starve. She asked me what it meant and I told her it was from a long time ago when I was having bad eating issues. I still have food issues, I told her and she and Teddy Rose said they were just talking about that and that they were glad I was on the trail. Glimmer was first back on the trail, we followed shortly after and for a couple miles all I could do was think about those old times surrounding that tattoo. I don't know if it helped or hindered but the hiking was hard!
The trail didn't go in anyway that made sense. It opted to dip into deep washes and then switchback steeply out of them when a perfectly reasonable mountain saddle was available. I have to stop trying to figure out where and why the trail goes where it does and just hike it. It makes no sense sometimes.
Josh and I were running on empty by the time we made it to the road. We trudged the last mile to Paradise Cafe and when we arrived we were greeted by several hikers. We sat down and ordered a sprite, a coffee milk shake, burger and fries, hot coffee and tons of cold water. The restaurant was very comfortable and the staff were awesome. We felt so welcome! And we know we smelled terrible!
Once we were stuffed we sat for a while trying to figure out what to do. Our feet were done and with our bellies stuffed all we wanted to do was nap. We decided to hike back to the trail and find a place to camp for the night.
It should be noted that the next section of trail is closed due to the mountain fire. Most of our class is hitching around the closure because a solid reroute has not been drafted by the USFS or the PCTA, but that doesn't sit right with me. I plan to do continuous footsteps to where ever I get to, hopefully Canada, and have a real thru hike. I'm not a PCT purist, I don't care about every step ON THE PCT, I just want to walk, north, as far as I can continuously.
But I digress
We crossed HWY 74 and lay down on our mats at the trailhead and relaxed for a while before big black rain clouds rolled in. We asked a couple day hikers if they'd seen a different weather report than we had, as ours said rain was not expected, but they didn't know. A half hour went by and we heard our first clap of thunder in the distance...followed by a bolt of lightning. Nope.
We rolled up our gear and headed to the road trying to get a hitch back to the cafe but no one obliged. We watched crazy close bolts of lightning strike and we picked up the pace.
We were only about a block away when Tom, a PCT trail angel from Kennedy Meadows pulled over and picked us up! He dropped us at the cafe and we took shelter under the covered porch. We ate apple pie ala mode and tried to come up with a plan when the waitress asked us if we wanted to stay the night on the patio. Well, yeah! We were so relieved! We headed inside as the weather took a turn for the worst and spent the day eating and catching up on the internet.
We watched as groups of drenched hikers came in and ate. Some hitched out to Idyllwild and some stayed. By closing time we were five: Josh and I, In The Weeds, Mars Rover and Barrel set up cowboy camp on the patio.
Right now it's 9:15pm and I'm laying next to Josh on the concrete patio. The traffic is nuts for a country road at 9pm but I'm grateful to be sheltered from any night time storms and surrounded by fellow hiker trash. Tomorrow we start our 17 mile road walk alternate to Idyllwild.
Until then. Goodnight!