I wake several times during the night – a few times to the sounds of Saturday night revelry, another time to silence, during which I take out my earplugs. I regret this when, during the hour of 4am, the family in the site next to ours starts up the party again. Loudly. In Spanish, which, not understanding, my brain tries really, really hard to decipher, keeping me awake. I fumble for my earplugs, but once I get them in, it seems like my 5:30 alarm goes off pretty immediately.
My friends aren’t moving, though, and we have fewer than 8 miles into town, so I luxuriate until I hear Sasha moving. Wakey wakey, soon there will be eggs and bakey.
We’re moving slowly this morning – what usually is a 45-minute wakeup to walk out takes an hour and a quarter, but finally, we’re moving. Last night’s humidity hasn’t quite left us, but neither has the cloud cover, which makes the day cool. We hunt for the mountain bike trail that’s supposed to be there; go cross-country for a second before we actually find it.
And at our first and nearly only turn before town, we go into the clouds, which also makes today cool.
Supposedly, we’re walking a ridge, but we can’t tell – sometimes visibility is 100 feet, sometimes 30. We catch Baptiste, and chat with him a while as we walk. We’re all going about the same pace, so then there were three.
The wild north/west and south/east of this road has been closed like the trail we’re routing around, all due to the same fire. In the haze, it makes for an interesting landscape.
At a road junction, there’s a pause for a bathroom break, and Lou, Matt, Ben, and Samples catch up. Samples has been tailing us – he’s nursing an injury and going his own pace – but he’s also part of the Pack It Out crew Turkey was talking about in Warner Springs. The other three keep pace with us, and soon, it’s not so gloomy despite the cloud cover.
After a few stops and starts with road junctions that aren’t on the map, we’re done with the dirt road faster than I think we will be, and onto the pavement for longer than I think we will be.
And then, Idyllwild proper!
We find other hikers on the porch of the health food store, eating fruit. I wander around lost in the aisles for a while before deciding that I need to eat before I do my resupply1. We hit the Red Kettle for some breakfast vittles – and Sasha gets the pancakes she’s been dreaming of all morning – before we decide to hunt down indoor lodging for the evening.
Fourth time’s the charm when it comes to a place for the six of us – the Silver Pines Lodge gives all six of us beds, grants us free laundry, and promises a ride to the trailhead tomorrow, all for about $24 a piece. They even give us the leftover food from a massage retreat that just finished up. We all monitor the progress of the washers impatiently while hanging out on our phones, then break up for chores/napping before meeting up for pizza at the Idyllwild Pizza Company.
The food is delicious and ample, and we see lots of hikers – there’s a lot of catching up to do, lots of talk of the upcoming Lake Fire Closure and detours and solutions, and lots of general goofing off, which, personally, I prefer to the trail talk. Then Sasha and I split off to go meet Joe and Leo for Captain America: Civil War at the tiny theater.
The movie, enjoyable as it was, lets out way, way after hiker midnight, but we walk back to the lodge easily, even without headlamps, in the streetlamped, moonlit night. I stay up even later to write, to reduce tomorrow’s zero’s workload, stopping only when I can’t keep my eyes open.
Start: Detour 21.6 • End: Detour 29.2 • Day: 7.6
Notable Accomplishments: Done with roadwalking for now! • LAUNDRY YESSSS • A movie, how technological!