Day: Saturday, May 21st 2016
Miles: 145.25 – 151.8
Remote Camp 151.8 – CA Highway 74
It’s fitting that Nero – a particularly extravagant emporer in Roman times, shares his 4 letters with an extravagance of the Pacific Crest Trail – the NEar zeRO day. This is an option for those like myself, who don’t want to deal with the guilt of a zero-day (no-miles rest day), but rather to do a few miles and have a rest. No guilt.
I woke feeling really great. I slept for nearly 12hrs after yesterday’s idiocy and my body was feeling really good after it. I knew today was a short hop to the highway and declined breakfast, instead opting for a sneaky Snickers bar. I have realized by now that due to climatic inferences, Snickers bars are only edible before 10am. After that, they turn into an angry messy toddler who wants to splatter goo all over your clothes and gear. They melt into a ferociously complicated snack, so I’ve avoided them altogether. This morning however it went down a treat, so maybe a morning-snickers is the way to go.
I rounded a few corners from my tent and came onto a stash of sodas and food left by Trail Angel Mary. If only I realized this was 700ft from where I camped I would have sugared up last night in my hour of need! It was a fun spot and I signed the surf board.
The morning was cool and cloudy, I walked the few miles quickly and met some of the fun older crew (ages 67/68/69 respectively) whom I talked to yesterday and passed my tent at 5am. As I passed, one of the gents quipped “us old guys can’t keep going as far as you young fellas each day, but our prostates have is up at 4am on the button for an early start”…..all I could hear was giddy chuckles echoing down the valley. I hope I’m that active and jolly when I hit that age on the PCT or a trail somewhere!
The morning was beautiful and my muscles and feet felt great. I think the rest has my body and mind back on good terms again. I’ll try to walk the line on that one for a while! I reached the highway at 8:30 and was seated at Paradise Valley Cafe for a big (bigg) breakfast in no time. It was a fun mix of filthy thru-hikers and leathered up bikers. They even had radler, a refreshing beer and soda drink I’ve enjoyed with family in Austria a few times so I had to grab one. So good.
At the counter I was again reunited with Speedy. We have both decided it’s time to do the hitch to Idyllwild. This is an unfortunate side effect for many due to the Mountain Fire in 2013 which burned a large section of the PCT between Highway 74 and Idyllwild. The following flash-floods literally blew the trail off the mountain so there is an unpleasant workaround alternate in place that I wasn’t entirely keen on. The hitch helps me save some time, take a rest day in Idyllwild, and I sincerely hope, return to this beautiful region when it fully reopens in 3-4 years time. As it turns out, we didn’t even need to hitch, Gus, a local retiree asked if we needed a ride, so 4 of us hopped in his huge Ram truck and headed up to Idyllwild. He was a funny and interesting guy, regaling stories of when he was the county warden on the Mason case – sharing a picture with us also!
Gus brought us to the State Park in Idyllwild. It’s higher elevation and cool here, good for setting us up to rejoin the trail near Mount San Jacinto tomorrow. The town is overlooked by some granite outcrops reminding me of the Sierra, something that’s a lot closer after a weeks work on the PCT. I had a phenomenal shower and a burger for dinner, caught up on blogs and laundry and prepared for the next 25miler to Ziggy and the Bears, in Cabazon, CA.