Day 9: The Biggest Burger

April 23, 2017: Hike Miles 129.2 to 151.8 (22.6 total)

We woke up this morning to a gorgeous sunrise from our tent on top of a mountain. We packed up quick and hit the trail.

Someone had told us in Warner Springs that this next 20 miles was flat. They said they were going to drink a lot of beer at Mike’s house and do the 20 miles drunk since it was so easy. Well, it wasn’t flat at all. I can’t wait to see that guy again and ask how his day went.  

All day we would walk down one mountain into a valley and turn around and walk right back up the next one. I’m convinced they make the beginning of the PCT route harder than it needs to be, forcing you to take the most roundabout way up a mountain just to make sure you’re ready for the Sierra’s. Or to make the rest seen easier. I guess I’ll find out. The trail was filled with beautiful flowers all day.  The morning started out overcast, but by 9:30, it was sunny and hot. 

We took a quarter mile detour after about six miles to fill up on water. Most of the water we get on the trail comes from a spring or a tank so we have to filter it before we drink it. It takes probably 5 minutes to filter 2 liters of water, so this process always holds us up for a bit.  

After our water break we decided to push on to the next water tank for lunch which was almost 9 miles away.  We picked the worst part of the day for this as it was hot as hell and required endless climbing. This seems to be a trend for us. Hopefully we will get out of this habit soon.

A couple miles before our planned break, we came upon an unexpected water cache with gallons of bottled water. It was such a great surprise. We filled up and pushed on, finally making it to our weird little lunch spot, complete with a mini library, bottled water, and cardboard people!

After lunch we decided we were going to try to hoof it to the Paradise Valley Cafe which was about another 7 miles. We had a lot of uphill and only a few hours to get there, but word had it, they had the best burger on the PCT. And what is better motivation than a cheeseburger?

We were moving as fast as our sore, hot, tired bodies would go and once again we almost passed another trail marker. 

We finally made it the highway and got picked up by a nice guy who took us to the cafe. We saw a bunch of friends there who told us we had to order the Mother Lode burger. So of course we did. And it sure lived up to it’s name. 

It felt so weird to be full. I didn’t think I could move. But when you’re backpacking, there’s no time to be lazy. The workers at the cafe were awesome and filled up our water bottles for us, told us they would leave the outside bathroom open for us, and that we could sleep on their patio or behind the restaurant. 

We found a nice place behind the restaurant, set up camp and now Colton’s konked out and I’m trying to plan our route for the next couple days since we have to make a detour for a fire closure. I guess the fire was a few years ago, but they’re still rehabilitating the area. It was a long day, but any day you end on the PCT with a full stomach is a great day. 

Oh, I almost forgot. We saw another rattlesnake today. Colton walked right past it and when I was a couple feet away I noticed a fat, brown snake body and backed up and sure enough, as it started slithering toward me, I noticed about 7 or 8 rattles. Luckily it was scared of me and crawled back in its hole. But not before it scared the crap out of me first. 

Also here’s what my legs look like after not washing them for 4 days. 

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