I’m not sleeping very well at night. My pattern is to fall asleep by 9pm, wide awake at midnight, and back to sleep around 2am. I was jolted wide awake some time after 2 to the sound of automatic gunfire. Really? Confident that it was far enough away from me, I drifted back to sleep.
Up at 5:30, I’m ready to run 8 miles for my burger. Whoa, easy there turbo. Break camp first! I made coffee and watched the beautiful sunrise.
I asked John, who was close to my tent, if he had heard the gunfire during the night. He did and said that “bud” cultivators use this to warn would be thieves. “Come around these here parts and we’ll pop a cap in your your know what!”
The 8 mile walk to the Paradise Valley Cafe was strenuous but not overwhelming. Every time I looked up from the trail, I saw a cheeseburger. By the time we arrived, I was drenched in sweat. My blue shirt was white from 3 hard days of sweaty salt accumulation. If I took off, I swear it would stand up by itself.
I went into the restroom to wash my hands, the first time in 3 days. Okay. I’m just saying…it was almost like taking a shower. Have you ever seen a bird take a bath in a small puddle of water? That was me with my hands.
Since we arrived at 9:45, they weren’t serving burgers. We had to wait until 11. That’s okay. We’ll have breakfast first then order our burgers. I ordered a big plate of hash browns. It was one huge party at the PVC!! Every person there was in a good mood. I loved the look on the snowboarders face when I told them that am 57. Priceless.
So here’s where the HYOH kicks in. So many are wiped out from the solid 10 days of hiking without a break. They just want a zero or double zero to rest up. And Rightfully so. The hike out of Idyllwild is the equivalent to hiking Half Dome in Yosemite (5,000 feet), followed by a 9,000 foot decent. A section of the PCT is closed due to the mountain fire of 2013 forcing hikers to choose alternate routes. As a result, hikers are hitching into town and bypassing this section entirely.
I want to hike from Mexico to Canada without a hitch around an alternate, so I’m choosing one of these proposed routes. Tom feels the same way so we are walking the 9 miles after lunch to the Lake Hemet campground.
Off we go for a 3 hour walk. We get to Lake Hemet ready for a shower and a peaceful view by the lake. The lady tells me that it’s $30 for the night. I asked, “Does that include grass under my tent?”. “Nope, just sand like you’ve been camping in for the past week.” Hmmmm. She looks and this poor old man and decided that our site is free for the night. There’s an advantage to being an extremely nice but very smelly and dirty old man. They feel sorry for you.
The campground section was completely empty. We ate dinner and watched the fish jumping into a beautiful sunset.