I woke up at Tunnel Springs around 0530 and hit the trail by 0610. It was cold (fingers were cold and stiff) but I wanted to get that climb back to the trail done before it got hot. Once again the restful night had done a miracle for my feet and I was surprised how good they felt. Turns out I needed everything I could get…
The climb back up to the PCT was just the start. The trail proceeded to climb for the next three hours. I’m constantly amazed at the trail’s ability to climb. You think you can’t go any higher, and then you turn the corner and there’s more. I don’t let it get to me. Some people talk about pointless ups and downs (“PUDs”), but for me the trail is what it is. When it goes up, I go up, and when it goes down, I go down. It just IS. This is the PCT. This is the trail to Canada. If you want to say you hiked from Mexico to Canada on the PCT you have to go over that hill, or down into that canyon and back out. No sense complaining about it.
By the time I got to the top there was a spectacular view.
A lot of people skipped this section and hitch-hiked to Idyllwild from the Paradise Valley Cafe. I don’t understand this. Why come out here to hitch your way ahead? Why not hitch all the way to Canada, if you want to make it easy on yourself? I came here to walk.
That said, part of the PCT is closed for Fire rehab, so I took the official detour. Down down down everything I had climbed and more. And very rocky and slow going. Then I found myself walking down this paved road toward the highway. I had no idea if I was even on the right road (Turns out I was not. I didn’t have a map for the detour and went the wrong way). Cars came by about once an hour, most going the wrong way to hitch. Nothing quite like walking a desolate road in the desert, not sure where you are, where you might find water, or how far you need to go. All that rocky down and now 4 miles of pavement was hurting my feet. Finally, some older women took pity on me and gave me a ride to the highway.
I had planned to walk the whole detour, but the road walking hurt me. Also, I had directions for the detour, but no distances. I didn’t know how far I had left to go, but I knew I wanted to sleep in Idyllwild tonight. I decided to try hitch-hiking for a half hour and see how it goes.
That was a really good idea! I thought I was four or five miles away, but it was closer to 20! And within 10 minutes a vehicle pulled over to give me a ride. It was Dan from Mike’s Place party! So glad to get that ride! I had to squeeze into the back with the packs and the dogs, but whatever. I want to say I walked from Mexico to Canada, but if the trail is closed and I skip the 20 mile road walk? Yeah, I think I’m cool with that.
Got to town around 1330. Took me a while wandering around but I found a nice quiet room on the edge of town, but still close. I think this will be a very relaxing place to rest for two nights. I ventured out and have aquired town clothes, beer, pizza, shampoo, conditioner, foot powder, Darn Tough socks, reading glasses, and some DVDs from the hotel library, so I’m ready to chill. Really, I did over half my town chores already so tomorrow should be very restful.
I’ve got a nice room with a small deck where I can watch the squirrels and rabbits and listen to all the birdsong. There’s a small creek at the bottom of the yard. My neighbor is a cool hiker from Germany who also likes to drink and smoke on the back deck, so I get to practice my German ein bischen. Life is good.
See that paper sticking out of my pocket? That’s my water report. Before I left town I would research where I would get water for the next section and make a little cheat sheet to keep handy in my pocket. In this case, I probably had directions for the detour on the other side. Directions, but no distances or map.