To Paradise and beyond!
Paradise Cafe is a famous destination on where the PCT crosses Highway 74 outside of Idyllwild . . . and this sign is meant to give tired hikers hope. This where I began my day on Wednesday on Shyla, with Highway 54 and the cafe as ending point. Along the way, I crossed paths again with my three Russian friends (who now had a new horse to take photos of) and I also saw the same young woman I had met along the trail the day before. All four of them were concerned about how they might get into Idyllwild after reaching the highway, as there is a section of the PCT that is closed between Highway 74 and Idyllwild due to a previous fire there making the trail unsafe. I promised to try to provide a ride to them if I could the next day.
Around 2:30pm, I met my mom, who was riding Takoda down the trail so we could switch horses. She had earlier driven the camper to Paradise Cafe, then got a ride back with Dawn, and now another PCT volunteer, Lawrence Peabody, was helping by guiding her with the truck and trailer to meet me at a water cache off of Coyote Canyone Rd. in Anza; she said that if Lawrence hadn't been helping her, she probably never would have found the place. It down was another long, bumpy, difficult dirt road, and when the truck tires started spinning up a hill, she parked the trailer and got on Takoda and rode him the rest of the way to join me. Takoda and Shyla gave each other their usual enthusiastic greeting when they caught sight of each other on the trail, and they weren't happy when I switched saddles and rode Takoda the rest of the way while Mom took Shyla on to McCall Memorial Park, where we were going to camp that night. Before I got on, I had to pick several cactus thorns out of Shyla's front legs. I had first encountered the nasty choya cactus while I was riding with Tattoos, and he advised me to bring along tweezers to make removing them easier, so at least I was prepared for the task this time.