ROAD TO PARADISE
PCT DAY 8: Mile 137 (Tule Canyon Creek) – Mile 155
Thursday April 21, 2016: 18 miles +2 miles to Paradise Cafe (32km)
It seems that the road to paradise is long and winding and it goes up, then it goes down and then it just goes on and on. That kind of sums up our day today. It was hot, there was little breeze and very little shelter from the sun. It was a tough, tough day.
Despite the shattering difficulty of the walk, the spring flowers were such a welcomed diversion from looking up in the distance and seeing the trail snake away over the side of yet another ridge. I promised not to take any more cactus flower photos but today I saw what would have to be an absolutely perfect specimen, growing amongst sandstone boulders. I could not help myself, I spent ages taking photos of it while Hammer disappeared off into the distance.
We were aiming to reach Paradise Cafe (at mile 151.8 and a mile off the trail) for lunch and then decide which route we would take to avoid the trail closure between miles 162 and 177. We made it to the cafe at around 2pm.
Until we reached the cafe we did not see any other hikers out on the trail. Even at the cafe there were only 6 other PCT hikers, who were about to head out. We had not crossed paths with them before. People we have flip-floped over the past few days with had disappeared. Where has everybody gone? Yesterday when we stopped at Mikes’ place, at least 15 other hikers came in behind us before we left. Today it felt like we were the only fools out in the heat of the day today. It may have been the hotest day we have had on the trail so far. Not sure of the official temperature. It seems there is hot and hotter at this time of the year. But it is a dry heat, hence the feeling of being in an oven. We could not arrive at Paradise Cafe soon enough. Such a relief to get there, get out of the sun and rest up a bit.
Several hours later, with our bellies groaning full of burger and milkshake we headed a little way up the PCT Trail to mile 155 where we camped for the night. It is a shame the trail is closed a bit further along as the lanscape in this early section of the San Jacinto Mountains looks quite spectacular. Huge sandstone boulder fields, towering over the trail. We saw our first rattle snake on the PCT at a spot just before we camped. As we lie in our tent absolutely smashed by the trail today, there is constant aircraft traffic overhead. We must be close to, or on the fly path to Palm Springs Airport. Looking forward to heading to Idyllwild tomorrow and a full rest day on Saturday.