Start mile: 131.5
End mile: ~155
Today was kind of a long day, and most definitely a delicious one. We woke up early and were on the trail by 6am. We powered through the miles pretty quickly, taking minimal breaks, so we could make it to Paradise Cafe in time for lunch. Wiz and I made it to the Pines to Palms Hwy (74) at 1pm. And to our surprise two trail angels had canopies set up and had water, Gatorade, light beer, Newcastle Brown Ale, and tequila as options. Not wanting to be rude, I indulged in a Newcastle. After drinking the delicious brew and hanging out with other hikers and the trail angels Boomer and Doctor Sole, we walked one mile down the highway to Paradise Cafe and had a large and delicious lunch.
I sat with Wiz, Mudflap, Eric, and the shotgun sisters Molly and Maddy. Kylie and Speed Bump arrived a bit later and joined us as well. Also at the cafe at the same time were Sam and Ben, Redneck, Spot, and a few other hikers. Mudflap, Wiz and I all ordered the Mother Lode burger, which had 1lb of beef, lettuce, onion, pickles, cheese, bacon, and avocado along with sweet potato fries. It couldn't have been a more beautiful sight and we had no problems polishing them off. Kylie ordered the Jose burger which was a smaller version of the mother lode that also had jalepenos. We could have all fallen asleep at the table after downing the burgers, but we eventually got up and waddled back to where the trail angels were set up.
Once there, we sat back down in the shade and hung out with a few more hikers. At around 5, Doctor Sole started taking about making carne asada burritos for dinner so we decided we needed to stick around for that before we headed out to get a few more miles in, making the hike into Idyllwild tomorrow a little shorter. Nitro from the PCTA also showed up not too long before we left and hung out with the angels and us. Just as we were saying our goodbyes and thanking them for everything, the next, of what I assume would be a group of hikers, showed up. Which was nice because otherwise we would have been the last hikers to leave.
On a side note, it's interesting out here how normal it is to sleep outside under the stars, or share a hotel room with people who are basically strangers that you may have met only a day or two before. An entire community of those who have put the outside world on hold so they can take time to do something that makes them extremely happy. Everyone out here has their own reasons for setting off on this journey, and come from backgrounds as different as you can imagine. You could quite literally be hiking with a millionaire businessman one day and someone who is unemployed and can't find a job in this economy the next. It is a beautiful thing that everyone is equal out here, and people are more impressed by the number of miles you did that day, than they are by the number in your bank account. It just seems right.
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