Day 13 & 14 – Idyllwild, the town with a dog for their mayor
Saturday 11 May 2019
Location: Mile 175.4 to Idyllwild (Mile 179.4)
Distance travelled: 4 miles / 6 km
After worrying about forecast thunderstorms as I drifted off to sleep last night I woke up this morning to nothing more than a drizzle of rain. I was grateful that the storm hadn’t hit while I was camped at over 2,500 meters high atop a mountain. It was however extremely cold, probably the coldest morning on trail yet.
Jeff and I hiked together this morning, his phone was almost out of battery so without a means to navigate it made sense. We set off hiking around 7, with only 4 miles of hiking along the PCT to Saddle Junction where we would have another 3 or so miles down a side trail called the Devil’s Slide trail to get into Idyllwild. We would be heading into town to resupply, eat and rest.
Despite the cold it was a spectacular morning hiking. We walked through the very first patches of snow we would see on trail. Only a few weeks ago the whole area was covered in snow, we are lucky with our timing, the rapid melt over the past few weeks means I didn’t need to worry about microspikes for this section of trail.
There were still a few patches of snow that we needed to walk across, I was so excited about it, taking photos of just about every icy patch we came to.
The air was cold and the wind was blowing hard, I walked the whole morning in my rain gear. Low cloud danced through the trees and across the mountain tops. It was a magical morning walking through the pine forest with the snow setting the whole scene off.
The 4 miles to the junction went by quickly. To get into the town of Idyllwild there is a 3 or so mile trail of steep switchbacks. The whole time I was walking down I was thinking about the walk up. On the way down I made the decision that I would spend 2 days in town to make the effort worthwhile.
I was grateful to reach the car park where there were bins and public toilets. It’s the simple things in life that can bring you the most pleasure when you are on trail.
From the car park we had another couple of miles road walk to town. We walked by cute mountain cabins set within the pine trees. It was everything I imagined a US mountain holiday town to be, we even passed a life sized wood carving of a bear.
Less than half a mile down the road a lovely local lady offered us a ride the rest of the way into town. We very gratefully accepted. Our trail angel dropped us at the campground where we could camp for $5 per night with showers. It was perfect!
After a shower we headed into town for lunch and met up with Graham who had landed in town the day before us. He was motoring along with a new group of people he met so Idyllwild may be the last time we see him. I had a delicious sandwich and smores cookie…it was very large and very American.
In the hiker box at the campground I found a good quality outdoors jumper which I took to switch out for the cotton loaner jumper I ‘borrowed’ from Warner Springs. I threw it in with my laundry and it’s as good as new. I feel proud of my find.
I enjoyed a lazy afternoon in town, relaxing eating and enjoying the feeling of being clean. It was mother’s day in Australia so I called home to speak to mum. I was lucky to catch my sister at the same time. It was good to catch up with everyone.
At 6pm there was a hiker meet up at a local pizza place, Jeff and I were both keen to eat something a little more affordable and a little healthier so we went for one drink that turned into two. It was after 8 when we returned to the campground to eat our hummus and veggies in the dark.
Sunday 12 May 2019
Location: Idyllwild (Mile 179.4)
Distance travelled: 0 miles / 0 km
I was glad I made the decision to spend 2 nights in town. It was nice to have a little sleep in, waking up knowing I didn’t need to pack up the tent, go anywhere or be anywhere.
It was after 7am before I finally dragged myself out of bed, ready for coffee and breakfast. Graham had spent the night in a hotel rather than at the campground so Jeff and I wandered into town for breaky. Just as Jeff was texting Graham, the man himself came walking into the campground with a coffee in each hand. He had organised to have breaky with his new crew but he came into town and had a coffee with us while we ate.
I had a very large, very delicious spinach, mushroom and cheese omelette with avo, hash and toast. It was ridiculously large but I took half of it with me, having the leftovers for lunch.
After breakfast it was resupply and charging device’s before another couple of calls home.
I was super excited that I managed to see the mayor while I was in town. Idyllwild is an unincorporated town which cannot have a human mayor but have instead appointed a Golden Retriever named Max as their Mayor. Max is somewhat famous, people flock to have their photo taken with him and pat him. I was feeling content now that I have met him. I could leave Idyllwild happy.
As if the day couldn’t be any better, I walked into a gift shop where the lady behind the store was nursing a baby raccoon!!
After grabbing a few more bits and pieces from the shops it was time for some last minute sweets before heading out on trail. I had an ice cream sandwich and was then tempted by a huge lemon cake at the supermarket. I was lucky Jeff walked in while I was halfway through it, it was giant and needed sharing.
To counterbalance the sugar I had a healthy dinner or avo and veggie wraps for dinner. The last nutrients I will eat before before Big Bear, 6 days away.