Day 10 Nance Canyon to Paradise Valley Cafe / Idyllwild
I’m up early at 5 and on the trail by 6, draaaaaging my feet. It’s a very slow start for me today. I’m all bundled up in wet weather gear as it was raining when I was lying in my tent. By the time I’m out it’s not somI take off my rainpants.
It’s foggy and misty and chilly and I march around the mountains and the rocks getting warmer. So I take off my puffy jacket.
I see Joyce camped in a little corner off the trail and around a bend is a w.ater cache! I have plenty so don’t take any but it’s always a lovely sight, especially after the heat yesterday.
Around another bend and it’s getting windier and chillier so the jacket goes back on. Then another corner and another water cache! This one has tables! And chairs! And a library!!! It’s a leave a book take a book, but I have none to contribute. There’s also a rubbish bin! This is exciting- it is amazing how many little bits of rubbish accumulate in my pack. Every little nook and cranny seems to breed a bit of a wrapper or used ziplock, so I spend a few minutes fishing them all out.
Back on trail for a few more miles and now David and Derek have caught up with my slow slow legs. David has the foresight to call ahead to Idyllwild to reserve a room as it is a long weekend! Good thing he does as it takes a few phone calls to finally find somewhere.
We eventually get to the road and there is a message from the paradise valley cafe for hikers to call if they want a ride! It’s now raining and the thought of a mile road walk isn’t fabulous, so I give them a buzz, but they are too busy 🙁
Disheartned, I haven’t even shut the gate to the trail when a big van pulls up amd the doors open. “Jump in!” Huh? “We’re headed to the Paradise Valley Cafe”. “I know you are – all you hikers want to go there”. Ridiculously amazing angel luck. Best of all- HE HAS DOGS IN HIS CAAAAAARRR! I’m so excited I steal one from him for the ride. Two fluffy pomeranias called Oggie and Buddy. I miss the happy balls of fluffy white awesome I’ve left at home so Oggie and I bond for the duration (ie I exploit her doggyness and fluffyness to fill my dogless void).
Finally we are at foooood! There are a few food ‘institutions’ along the trail that you hear a lot about, I get excited along with everyone but know there may not be anything for me. At the very least there will be fries, and hot potatoes of any kind are my ultimate comfort food! It’s turned into a bit of a tradition for me.to source some hot chips after a hike at home, so this feels apt.
The cafe is full of hiker trash! (Ie hikers). There’s 6 other stinky people busy stuffing their faces. Not only do they have fries, they have sweer potato fries and a veggie burger!!! The burger comes and looks great, but the patty is too much like faux meat (was supposedly made.from beans) and freaks me out so that stays on the plate. Plus a bundy ginger beer to wash it down! Apparently Australian ginger beer is quite the thing here.
There is a section of the trail closed due to a fire thst was there last year, so our next stop is Idyllwild. We manage to score a ride with a late 70s-ish cowboy named Gus driving a giant giant pick up. Gus listens to clasical music when he drives, which makes him extra awesome (I do too). We dhare the tide with two guys from Seattle who get hall passes from their wives for a two week hike every year 🙂
Gus drops us at the Strawberry in, but we got the wrong berry and are actually a mile down then road at the Strawberry Bunkhouse. So we walk in the rain up the hill far far away. It’s fascinating how little amy of us want to walk when not on the trail. 2660miles? No worries. 1 mile extra for the hotel? ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME???!!
The on duty manager lets us sneak into the hotel laundry to wash away our grime, so I’m captive in the room for a while in a hot ensemble of rain jacket and towel.
Finally clean we venture out into the dark foggy rainy town to dinner. The menu looks amazing -beautiful big quinoa salads amd lots of options for me. Alas we are lazy lazy hikers and that restaurant is about 1.5mules away, so we stop at the first restaurant for a cheap mexican feed.
It gets really really cold and there are a few snow flurries after dinner. We leave donations in the hiker box at the Inn and then shuffle up the road with headlamps on so cars can see us!
Back in the room, cozy, fed and clean, the final amusement for the day is provided by Ivy educated David, who asks us in all seriousness “how do I grow a beard?”. Yep. His trail name is now HowBeard.
Quote of the day: “All good things are wild and free.” Thoreau