Nance Canyon at Mile 140.1 – Mile 159.7

19.6 miles

When I woke up this morning, I did not intend to walk 19 and a half miles today. My only goal was to make it to Paradise Valley Cafe for their trail-famous Jose burger. 

Last night’s camp spot could not have been more perfect. That soft sand under my tent was so comfy-cozy. I had my best sleep so far. I slept so well that it wasn’t even so horrible to wake up this morning. It was kind of pleasant. Well, plus, I had a goal in mind. Food is a powerful motivator. 

I was hiking by 7:15 and before noon I had banged out 11.5 miles and was sitting at the cafe deciding which beer to get. It was glorious sitting on the patio in the sun with a bunch of other smelly hikers discussing the upcoming fire detours and which alternate to take. 

There are a couple of sections of the trail that have been closed due to fires. One of them was supposed to reopen last fall, but for whatever reason is still closed. There is a hike-around detour for that one, although some people just hitched the 17 road miles to Idyllwild today. 
The next one is coming up a little later and we might all be forced to shuttle around that one. 
After a burger and fries, two beers and a milkshake, it was time to hit the trail again. 
When I had set off this morning I thought I might just make it as far as the cafe and camp there, but it’s amazing how itchy my feet have become in such a short period. Unless I’m taking a siesta or camped for the night, I really want to keep moving. I at least wanted to get a few miles in before I called it quits for the day. Unfortunately, everyone I lunched with had only done maybe 5 miles or so to get to the cafe that morning. This is how I ended up hiking 19.6 miles today. 

Boy, miles 13-16 were such a slog and I partly wished I hadn’t eaten that burger, but really and truly it was marvelous and I didn’t regret it. The last couple of miles, I hiked with the Texans I met on day 1, Lisa and Rusty, and also, Golden Boy. They are all really great and interesting people, and hiking with them made me forget that I’d been going up and up and up all day. 

Now we’re camped in the trees at 6,300 feet. Hey, guess what?! It’s effing cold again tonight!  

I have no plan for tomorrow except to wake up somewhat leisurely, hike to a water source at some point and begin this detour. 

I know you all won’t get this for another several days, but I think this will bear repeating a few times. I haven’t had much service the past couple of days. I’ve been hiking in somewhat more remote areas. It’s actually been really nice to unplug a little, and also I haven’t had to worry so much about my battery. However, I had a little bit of time to talk to Hunter at the restaurant today and he said a few of you were worried that you hadn’t heard from me. Thank you for your concern, but please don’t worry yourselves. This will happen from time to time. Rest assured, there are many people hiking this trail, even though sometimes I’m alone all day. If I were to stop for any period of time I’d find out that someone was actually just a little way behind me the whole time. Also, though I’m not strictly hiking with any one person or group, there is a group of us the are in the same bubble and we keep tabs on each other. If I were go missing from the bubble, someone would notice. 

Today I met:

– Golden Boy from California. He also wants to spend one of his zero days seeing a movie at some point, so I’m excited about that. 

– Jukebox, friend of Snake Eye. 

Today I learned:

– What a powerful motivator food is.
Today’s hike was powered by Paradise.