Last night was the most restful night I have had yet on the trail. I decided to cowboy camp again and it was fantastic. One of the nicest parts about cowboy camping is not having to spend the extra time setting up and taking down the tent... The view of the stars is pretty nice too I guess. (salt in the wound for all you up in the NW with clouds and rain)
In the morning we were on the trail just after 7 and hiked through some quasi-forested areas as well as some exposed areas with large white/orange/pink granite stones littering the sandy landscape with wild flowers and chaparral interspersed between; it was quite a beautiful scene.
Speed Bump, Kylie, Wiz and I made it to Mike Herrera's house right about noon and proceeded to enjoy cold drinks, shade, and the two hammocks. Other hikers hanging out at Mike's included Ben, Sam, Drop Dead, Barney, Jim and Dona, Pine, and a few others. It amazes me the wide range of ages of those who hike the trail. Sunshine, 11, aims to be the youngest thruhiker (she's hiking with her dad); Rory, 18, aims to be the youngest solo thruhiker; and Jim and Dona are 65.
There was also a trail crew from PCTA working to clear overgrown vegetation from the trail just north of where we were. Thank you trail crews!
Mike was not there, but he had a caretaker to watch over the place, as well as his uncle Tommy and brother Art. Things got a little bit sketchy when Art and Mario (caretaker) returned from the store with two cases of Budweiser for their own consumption. We had heard earlier in the week there was an incident where Mario was belligerent and wielding a knife threatening to stab a couple hikers. Because of this incident Mike returned, removed the beer from the premises, and had his uncle Tommy keep an eye on things for the weekend. Unfortunately that didn't seem to help the situation because as we were leaving at 7:00pm both Mario and Tommy were pretty drunk as evidenced by their slurred speech. So although the chicken was delicious, it was not somewhere we wanted to stay for the night. We made it about 5 miles down the trail and enjoyed a beautiful sunset on a ridge overlooking the valley (and possibly Temecula?)
Cowboy camping again tonight and the stars are incredible. Tomorrow we will get up at 5am to hike the 20 miles in order to get to Paradise Cafe in time for lunch and their famous Jose burger! (If you haven't noticed by now, pretty much everything revolves around food or water). We might even stay for dinner too!
Also, if some if the names seem strange it is because many people take in trail names, which usually have a funny or embarrassing anecdote to go along with them. I have yet to earn a trail name, but I'm sure I'll do something to deserve one soon enough :)
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