Idyllwild is for squirrel lovers

Total PCT miles 178.6 – Idyllwild, California

Greetings from Idyllwild!

Gabriel and I made it to mile 178.6 yesterday morning and hiked down into town to pick up our resupply package and take our next scheduled zero day. Gabriel has been enjoying the charms of this cute touristy town with beautiful views, a natural food store, and many options for pie. I’m just getting back on my marmot paws after having some sort of yucky flu-like bug, which made for a slow and interesting hike into town. Thankfully, I am on the mend and now able to stroll around, see friends and partake in some of the town’s hiker amenities (smoothies, hot cocoa, and healing soup).

This feels like a good day to be down in town. When I look west to the horizon I see the bright blue sun-infused Southern California sky. When I look up valley, to the east, I see the craggy granite domes and peaks of the San Jacinto range. The mountains are partially shrouded in clouds that slowly flow over the ridges. Occasionally, the clouds reveal the trees that are coated in a fresh dusting of snow.  Beautiful to look at, but burr to be walking through. Best to stay here in town this day, which is exactly what Gabriel and I are doing. It’s chilly here in the valley, so we’ve warmed up at a coffee shop with hot cocoa and some Legos.

And we’ll soon be off to the local gear shop for some adjustments to our gear. Gabriel needs more socks. I need a long-sleeve sunshirt and some warmer longjohns. The sunny-oh so sunny days-require a lot of sunscreen and even though I’m slathering myself with SPF 30 lotions, I’m still getting quite a burn/tan. Better to block out the rays.. .though I will miss using my Icebreaker 150 t-shirt which is a good wicking base layer that doesn’t achieve the hiker stench the same way that the future nylon/poly-pro shirt will do in just a few miles.  And we spent a cool night out in the 8,000-foot realm before coming down into Idyllwild. I was chilly that night, and if I’m cool at 8,000 what will it mean at 10,000 or 12,000 feet in the much more snowy Sierra? Better to adjust gear now. Especially at a great climbing shop that is in walking distance from our room.  Already, it’s apparent to me that thru-hikers are good for local economies (hotel rooms, buying double the amount of food a normal person eats, supporting the USPS, and patronizing  thoughtfully supplied gear shops).

While it’s early on in our hike, I can see why Idyllwild could become one of Gabriel’s and my favorite trail towns. Beautiful setting. Businesses are friendly, very hiker-understanding-for instance the inn we’re staying washes hiker laundry for free. Lots of food options to choose from-including a natural foods restaurant. Everything is in easy walking distance (think 2-6 blocks). And to my heart’s delight, the town is fond of squirrels!

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