Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 14, Town Day!

PCT mileage: about 5
Other mileage: 5

Thru hikers are funny about mileage on and off the trail during a thru hike. Most thru hikers try not to skip any mileage while on the trail itself, although how strict you are will vary person to person. But the minute you are off the trail they look for any way to avoid extra mileage. It's not like we are lazy, but with over 2600 miles to hike all that extra adds up. Plus hikers almost unilaterally hate walking on roads, go put 40 lbs on your pack and hike on dirt and then try it on pavement with cars screaming past you. Not fun. Which is where hitch hiking comes in. It's actually really common for hikers to get rides into town, especially if the drivers know the trail is in the area. Being rather new to hitch hiking my current rule is never go solo and avoid if possible. We'll see how it goes.

So today was a town day. We camped less than 5 miles from where the devils slide trail connects with the PCT and takes you down to a road which then leads to the amazing town of Idyllwild. We had a slow start with the freezing cold wind but managed to drag ourselves though a few patches of snow and hit the trail to town.

Now the devils slide trail is gorgeous but no joke. In 2.5 miles you drop 1900 ft (and those are non PCT miles) and right when we finally got to the road Bobcat got us a ride within 2 minutes Woohoo (avoiding another 2.5 miles on the road.

Idyllwild is basically a perfect hiker town. Everything is within walking distance, there are welcome PCT hiker signs everywhere and there is a campground, an inn,a supermarket, a natural food store and a library!
If you can be quick and don't mind skipping a few things you can save some cash by doing a nearo on town days. That means going to town and hiking almost no miles. Plus you have an easier morning if you just wake up on the trail rather than try to hitch back up. Many hikers take zeros which is a day with zero hiking.

So it was a whirlwind, eating, gear tweaking, and somehow organizing food for 5 days. The health food store was amazing and let us take over their back porch while we made at least 3 trips to every store figuring out what the heck was needed.

Lost a few of our hiking group to the vortex of town but I am sure that they will catch up soon. We got a ride back up to the trail head super quick but genius that I am I did not check the seat and now have zero ability to treat my water as both my water filter and emergency backup where in the same bag...definitely learned 2 lessons there.
Made the crazy climb back up. Surprised the cousins with fresh veggies, and made an amazing salad. Way better than more junk food in town. We had plans to hike a few miles farther but made it all of 5 minutes before we saw a great sunset and a campsite to good to pass up. And tomorrow is the dreaded fuller ridge...

The pictures don't do it justice, but think sunset in the high mountains over a lake of fog, another amazing day on the PCT.

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