We now resume our rapid-fire recap of the PCT.
Day 10: As we ate our pancakes at Mike’s place, Papa Buff told us a bit about his beekeeping business in Humboldt County. Remember that, because bees will come back in a few sentences.
After leaving Mike’s, we got to Tule Springs 10 miles later. Sadly, the word “DRY” was scratched in the dirt road leading down to the spring. This was a problem since the water report had said it was running great and we had planned to get water here. Upon investigation, we discovered that it really was dry and decided to wait for the afternoon to cool off before continuing. There was a rumored water cache in 6 miles, but we fortunately didn’t need it. After 3 miles, we came to a guzzler that reminded me of a sepulcher, both in its shape and the green water it gave. But it was better than dehydration, so we took several liters and walked on.
Miguel and I decided to camp in a boulder field a few miles after the guzzler. We found the perfect spot with a nice sandy bottom. I was just about to put the poles in my tent when I looked up and saw a swarm of honeybees the size of a basketball in the branches of a bush just 5 feet away. Having thus started and ended my day with bees, we moved a few feet up the trail to a spot with a much better view.
Day eleven: we passed the 150 mile mark, enjoyed an on-trail little free library (and capri-suns!) and made it to Paradise Valley Cafe all in one day. It was possibly the first time I’ve ever been applauded while waking into a restaurant–about twenty hikers had taken over the tables on the porch, including many of the ones I’d spent time with in Warner Springs. I’m not sure if it was really the best chocolate shake I’ve ever had, or if I had just been craving one for so long that it felt that way. As another hiker pointed out, though, it doesn’t matter: “You enjoyed the hell out of it!”
Part of the trail was closed, so after spending a few hours at Paradise Valley, we got a ride from a nice old man to Idyllwild. Did you know they often filmed Bonanza in that area? Neither did I, until our driver pointed it out. We got a room to share at the Silver Pines Lodge, and loved the town so much we decided to take another zero day there.