​Day 14: mile 145.4 to Paradise Valley Cafe to mile 161.9

4.29.18. 16.5 miles.

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What a long day! I can’t believe we started at Mary’s this morning and I can’t believe I’ve been on the trail for 2 weeks! I still miss home but am not actively thinking about it all the time, and don’t want to be anywhere else except the trail.

We got to sleep in today (6 am!) which was magical. The 5.5 miles to Paradise Valley Cafe were LONG though. I had to put a podcast on to keep my mind off the climb & the impending food binge. I hit 150 miles during that stretch though so that was cool! And it was pretty.

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I caught up with Kristie at the highway and we tried to call for a ride but the cafe didn’t have anyone to come get us so we tried to hitch. We failed miserably until someone stopped for us, and it turned out to be the owner of the cafe! We thanked him a million times over.

I really wanted to get the Jose burger bc it’s supposed to be the best on trail, but they weren’t serving lunch yet and I hadn’t really eaten anything today, and my hiker hunger has officially kicked in, so I needed food ASAP. I ordered 3 scrambled eggs w Louisiana hot links, hash browns, a side of biscuits & gravy, half a cinnamon bun that I split with Turbo, and 2 cups of coffee. Life was good and I inhaled it so fast I didn’t have time to take a picture.

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More good news: my shin splints disappeared so we were on track to do the Spitler Peak alternate to Idyllwild. We got a ride back to the trail around 12 and started hiking right away. It was not hot at all, mostly windy so we didn’t need our mid-day siesta.

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Our hike up was ALL uphill, but it was so gorgeous! I can’t believe 90% of hikers skip this section. It was like a mini Sierra. Lots of pine trees and boulders and mountains and amazing views of the desert below. If you’re thinking of hiking, don’t skip this section!!

 john & Turbo being cute. Also cold AF.

john & Turbo being cute. Also cold AF.

The weather got ROUGH though. I now understand what they mean by “desert winds”. I felt like I might fly off the mountain at times. Thankfully the guys ahead found a decent campsite that is sheltered from the wind (let me tell you, it’s still super windy but could be so much worse). We are all crammed into this spot meant for “1 tent” but we’ve got 4 set up! We’re basically on top of one another.

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It’s also so freaking cold. Will probably get into the mid-30s tonight, maybe lower with wind chill. We’re happy we got to this mileage though because it sets us up for Idyllwild tomorrow instead of on Tuesday. Kristie and I can thank the guys for pushing us a little bit. Sleeping in this wind storm is so much better knowing we’ll be sleeping in a 2-room cabin tomorrow night (thanks to John for getting on the phone with the Idyllwild Inn at breakfast and booking our room). I’m loving the people I’m hiking with. They are so fun and nice but also very sarcastic & humorous. I’m still with Kristie and we’ve picked up John, Omrie (Turbo), and Aaron (Tank). Super happy I’ll be zeroing with these guys, they’re the greatest!

 my beanie/ makeshift balaclava/ down jacket hood creation

my beanie/ makeshift balaclava/ down jacket hood creation