Not a long walk at all! And with a lovely light pack, since I’ve gone through most of my food and only needed a little water. I saw a cool inversion layer in the valley as I walked along and soon I could see the power lines and houses of civilization. I had about a mile of walking next to the road, where all the cars seemed to be driving awful fast. Sparkling in the distance was Paradise Valley Cafe.
Welcome Bikers, Hikers & Horseback Riders!
I sat outside with some spandex cyclists and some leathery motorcyclists. I was very hopeful that some horseback riders might show up.
This place is pretty legendary amongst hikers and they’re especially hiker friendly. After ordering, I went into the bathroom and stared at myself in the mirror. My face was crusted white with salt and sunblock, especially around my nose. My hair whisps puffed up from my head like I’d been electrocuted. I’d gone in public looking like that? Good thing they’re used to crazy hikers stumbling in from the desert. A very busy server brought over a hiker book for me to sign. I eavesdropped on normal people and ate. When I went to pay, the man behind the bar asked if I was going all the way to Canada. “That’s the idea,” I told him. “I might be starting a little late.”
“Not at all, not this year, you’ll be fine.”
He seemed authoratative on the subject, so I chose to be encouraged. If the Paradise Valley Cafe bartender says I’ll make it to Canada, then I guess I’m going.
“Go stand under that blue sign and you’ll get a ride into Idyllwild no problem,” he told me. Sure enough, in about ten minutes I was riding the 18 miles to Idyllwild with an older Native American man in a nice truck. He told me that Horny Toads don’t bite, but they do spit blood. Some people say they aim for the eyes and that it can blind you. I’m glad that didn’t happen when I petted that Horny Toad the other day.
Idyllwild is a great little arty hippie town. On Memorial Weekend they have an art fair and about a million yard sales. They looked like some good yard sales. If you’re into that kind of thing. (I totally am.)
I checked in at the campground and got some shower tokens. And thus began my first day of ZERO.
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What is “first day of ZERO”?