Both my strong desire to get out of the heat of the desert and the lure of a zero* in the lovely mountain town of Idylwild had me speeding through the last 42 miles to the Paradise Valley Cafe. Oh boy were they a rough 42 miles. (*a zero is a day in which you hike zero miles)
I thought sleeping in the lawn of the Warner Springs community center among dozens of other hikers might be noisy so I hiked a mile and a half down the trail after the sun set. Some more cows and some lovely dusky colors above the mountains and I found a large sandy flat surrounded by grasses to roll out my bivy. Perfect.
Except I kept hearing noises. Id never been spooked by noises camping alone in the past but that morning a local told me that the area held mountain lions. Surely I was just hearing jack rabbits but even so I became tense at every sound. I slept very little and at 2 when I realized that my bag was gathering condensation I was done. Better to hike without the sun anyway.
So I undertook my first night hiking. A bit spooky at first. The desert sage looked like a ghost plant reflecting the thin light of my headlamp and small animals rustled the brush around me as I passed. I regret passing through what I’m sure was lovely terrain in the dark.
The rest was visually spectacular as the beginning probably but with extreme heat, weariness, and a growing pain in my knee I did not appreciate it quite so much. Often looking at the views I would see a small line crossing next ridge hundred of feet away and groan a bit inside.
Arriving at the Paradise Valley Cafe was thrilling. During the 15 mile hike there in the morning, Isaac made up a lovely country tune about heading to the Paradise Cafe and added verses along the way. That and the tenacious flowers which still persisted in the arid climate got me through.
Idylwild has been great. I slept 9 hours last night! We made salad and quesadillas and strawberry shortcake for dinner and pancakes this morning. Mike’s aunt took us out to lunch today. Tomorrow I will head into the San Jacinto mountains to see my first snow but right now enjoying much needed rest.
Again, a smattering of pictures probably not in the right order. Enjoy!
2 thoughts on “Stretch Two”
That looks like SERIOUS strawberry shortcake!! Get some ice on that knee whenever you can ! XXOO Aunt Barbara
Beautiful photos, Morgan. I so admire what you are doing and happy we can be with you from your words and photos, but no night hiking for us!!! Xoxo Aunt Fran