Day 10: Paradise Valley Cafe

Start: Mile 144 Trailside Campsite

End: Mile 151.9 Junction Highway 74

This morning we were up again before 6am and on the trail at 6:45. We knew that today would be an easy day on the trail as we were only hiking 8 miles to the where the PCT crosses Highway 74.

About one mile into our hike we came to a water cache hosted by Trail Angel Mary. She actually owns this property which is adjacent to the PCT and has set it up a “PCT Hiker Camp” that has a 500 gallon water tank, an area for hikers to set up their tents, a picnic table with shade, a library and an outhouse. While we were there Mary and her dog Scout came by to say hi and check on how everyone was doing.

Mary is a retired college philosophy professor hence the library and silhouettes of John Muir, Walter Whitman, Henry David Thoreau and some of pertinent quotes.

After visiting with Mary and Scout we continued hiking until we reached Highway 74. We immediately got offered a ride from Trail Angel David to the Paradise Valley Cafe about one mile down the road. Paradise Valley Cafe is known for having some of the best burgers on the trail and we had been looking forward to this feeding frenzy opportunity for the last few days.

After spending a couple hours relaxing and enjoying a “proper city lunch”, we were given a ride by Trail Angel Jason into Idyllwild where we checked into the Idyllwild Inn. After showering and getting cleaned up we went across the street and enjoyed an awesome pizza from Idyllwild Pizza. It was nice to sleep in a real bed again.

Tomorrow we plan on “slack-packing” a sixteen mile section of the PCT. Slack-packing means that we are only carrying what we need for the day (water, snacks and an extra layer of clothes) and not all our other gear like the tent, sleeping bags, stove, etc. Trail Angel David will give us a ride tomorrow morning back to the PCT and we’ll hike this section of the trail and then return to Idyllwild for a couple of “zero” days where don’t hike at all.

Thanks for following our journey.

8 thoughts on “Day 10: Paradise Valley Cafe

  • There is a thru hiker with the trail name of “Circus Act” also staying at the Idyllwild Inn. If you see him, tell him his Dad says “Hi.” Sounds like you are hiking in the same part of the trail. Wishing you rest and healing on your zero days. Good luck.


  • A couple of days off will make you feel fifty again. Through the complete trip so far you guys have found some good food along the trail. I thought all of your food was going to be dehydrated food. See you soon.
    J and K


  • Well this looks like too much fun! I would like to skip the trail and just go to the burger place! Mary’s set up is totally cool! Donna needed to see a cute dog to love on for a bit! Trail Angel David is amazing….he is like a trail chauffer! I hope your days in Idyllwild were restful. It must have been fun to see Blake, Tahnee, and little Elias! Today is Ellison’s 2nd birthday…we had a small family BBQ at Caitlin and Dereks. Very fun but we missed Gpa Dan. I love reading your posts. Enjoy and be safe and stay away from the snakes!


  • Enjoy following your hiking adventure! My husband and I are both 56,and are hoping to hike the PCT when we retire. We do not have any massive hiking experience, but do enjoy day hikes periodically. We understand, and can respect, that this in no way will prepare us for the PCT, but we enjoy reading your blog and learning from you. We were in CA for vacation, from Michigan, in early March. We were driving on Highway 74, and happened to see where the PCT crosses. It was raining, windy, and mid 30’s but we parked the car and hiked a little on the PCT there. We took our picture by the PCT sign in this area. We also were trail angels and left waters for hikers. Wish I would have read up more ahead of time and realized where we were so we could have stopped at Paradise Cafe also, and done more trail angel magic:). Anyways, good luck hiking–have fun, stay healthy, and enjoy yourselves! Your blog today just made me think about our brief hiking on the PCT. We will be watching your posts and wishing you the best!!


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