PCT DAYS 9-11:New Friends, Phenomenal Food, and Rock Slides


Mileage : 140.6 -151.9

Once upon a time it was day 9 in the dry dry Southern California desert. Early on we arrived at the famed Mary’s place where we bumped back into our new friends Northbound Riders (they have Instagram and Facebook) and Mary with her pup. These two are awesome and so is Mary!!! They’re the brother sister duo riding horses north bound. They’re going by the trail names of Mountain Man and Fire Mane so if you bump into them be sure to take the time to chat them up. If you’re not on the PCT look them up online, they’re the only two attempting a thru-ride this year that we know of. Their journey is absolutely insane and takes a ton of logistical support. Their support team includes their mom, Mountain Mans girlfriend, famed trail angel Ghost, and their four English Shepherds (super cute and friendly). We actually had the pleasure of spending multiple hours with the whole cast hours later upon arrival to Paradise Valley.

The support team

The esteemed and hiker famous Paradise Valley Cafe is nothing short of legendary and for good reason. The Jose burger is absolutely delicious!!! (quarter pound patty, grilled mushrooms, swiss cheese, honey cured bacon, green chile’s, jalapeños, lettuce, tomato and a side of fries.) Kelsey and I each had one with a pair of Coke’s to match. We actually finished our Cokes so fast that the waitress decided to bring us a pitcher haha!

They seem to be a hub for trail angels offering rides into Idyllwild and they also have a pretty solid hiker box packed with snacks and sunscreen. After gorging on real food we decided to go chat it up with the northbound riders and their support team parked behind the diner.

The horses were grazing while the dogs were getting their fill of what they thought was much needed attention. We talked about their journey, the logistics behind it as well as their story before they embarked on this great adventure. They shoe their own horses and everything! It’s incredible. We know this is a hiking based blog but we encourage everyone to look them up. What they’re doing is super interesting and fun to learn about. Let’s just say us hikers have it easy. Plus they’re very friendly and happy to help anyone in need.

Support team pups! <3

Ghost gave us a ride into Idyllwild and made sure to show us all of the hiker friendly spots we should check out. He’s an incredible human being! He refuses donations and is happy to help those in need. He’s also an expert of everything in the area so he’s got a wealth of knowledge every hiker would find helpful. Thanks for all your help Ghost!!

Idyllwild Bunkhouse

After quickly checking into our hotel and doing our usual chores of laundry (in the sink), showering, and prepping meals/ snacks we hit the town of Idyllwild! (Until about 8:30 pm, we were tired haha.) We grabbed a beer at the local brewery and some pizza at the pizza joint with a quick stop at the grocery store for a Talenti Gelato. (we use the leftover jar to cold soak and for our breakfast shakes). We missed out on seeing the Mayor Max (a golden retriever) but we have plans on trail that we’re holding ourselves accountable to as unfortunate as that sounds hahah.

DAY 10

Mileage: 151.9 – 161.9

We woke up to a loud crash and grinding noise. Apparently somebody veered off the road and side swiped the rock face directly across the street from the motel. It was a heck of an alarm clock. If you’ve ever been to Idyllwild you can attest that the roads are both steep and very curvy. Luckily nobody was hurt. The hotel manager actually offered to give us a ride back to the trail head for $20 and we gratefully accepted. Thanks Allisa!! We were on our way once again.

The Hiker Box from Heaven:

Every hiker gets stoked when approaching a box that may or may not be filled with mystery goodies. Well, if you were at the Paradise Valley Trailhead on this day you would know that this thing was one for the history books. Some awesome trail angel stuffed this sucker to the brim with Mountain House meals, Backpackers Pantry meals, SPF chapstick, Osprey hats, Kate’s granola bars and a couple of other candies. We were fresh off a resupply so we each grabbed a granola bar because they looked delicious and headed out. The temptation was certainly there to indulge on one of the many fancy freeze dried delicacy’s but we decided others would need it more than us.

Such amazing trail magic!

DAY 11

Mileage: 161.9 – 180.8

The Rock: “There has been a significant rock slide between Antsell Peak and South Peak around mile 172.5. We have heard from people that the rock slide is dangerous to cross and impassable to some. We’re told that the main rock on the trail is about 10 feet by 10 feet by 3 feet. “ -pcta.org. We decided after hearing the locals warnings and reading the trail reports that we’d make our own decision after seeing it for ourselves. We made our critical risk assessment and decided that with two of us we could make it across safely. We took our packs off. Cody climbed up first and Kelsey passed the bags up. After the bags were down we both climbed over and down safely ready to push on. We knew the risk and deemed it safe. We do not recommend the same for others and certainly not those traveling alone. Everyone should make their own decision safely and we stand behind ours. This was our first real hurdle on trail and we’re both pretty stoked to leave it in our rear view.

The size of the rock, taller than Cody!

The climb up…

The climb down…

The past three days were great! We met awesome people, ate delicious food and created some very memorable experiences on trail. This walk keeps getting better and better.

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