April 7 – Part 2 Paradise

It is GOOD!
~Wandering Dot, PCTer and Artist

Table Mountain to just after Eagle Spring turn off (mile 163.5)
19.5 miles

After spending the night at the most awesome campsite ever, we got an early morning start (6:15) to descend down to Highway 74 to visit the famous Paradise Cafe. The Paradise Cafe is famous among PCTers, not only for the water from a hose at the back of the cafe, but also for the delicious food and friendly service. On our way we had our first glimpse of San Jacinto Peak, that sports a very steep, usually snowy, and icy Fuller Ridge. Being a low snow year in California, the peak looked snow free from a distance. We also bid Anza Borrego Park goodbye for the last time to enter the San Jacinto Mountain Range.

We hit Paradise Cafe just in time for breakfast and the experience was the best. I walked in and Cindy handed me the key to the bathroom and pointed at the outlet in the wall. She read my mind. Soap and iPhone charge. Magic. Met lots of great people, ate filling tasty and healthy food, and left with 4 liters of water. If that isn’t enough, hikers and trail angels, Evil Goat and Good Witch offered to give us a ride back to the trail head. So good.

With full bellies and 5 cups of coffee, we powered up 2000 feet of elevation in the heat of the day. Water sources in the San Jacinto area does not come often or easily. Acquiring requires hiking straight down to a spring, then hiking back up to the trail with full water bottles sometimes 1/2 a mile. Not fun, at all. We chose to haul water for the night and next day.

The trail in this section passes through a transitional environment. My favorite… a combination of desert and mountains. Cool shade of the pines with pokey plants still threatening to attack the hiker at any given moment.

We are camped on a ridge high in the mountains tonight with a breathtaking view of the lights from Palm Springs. Tomorrow is Easter. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ tomorrow, but by walking through his creation.

2012 PCTers FYI: The water at Paradise needs a key to turn it on. If the cafe is closed no water is available. Forest land is right behind the cafe where it is legal to camp.

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