Thursday, May 27, 2010

Idyllwild! Idyllwild! Come here, Idyllwild!

May 8: For the rest of the snow, I decided to attach myself to John and John whether they liked it or not for safety's sake. They took their time getting ready in the morning, which was okay by me. I kind of hoped to see Mad Hatter and Tomer drop into camp before we left, and the later start we got, the better chance of that happening. And it worked--with just a few more minutes before we hit the trail, Mad Hatter and Tomer came up into camp--from a direction very different than the one I followed up. At least they made it, though!

Of the five of us, I seemed to have had the most experience with cross-country travel and navigation. Which was somewhat worrisome, I thought, since I'm not exactly an expert in the subject, but from our vantage point, we had a great view of the mountains and the terrain, and the PCT looked positively miserable to hike through, buried in snow. I suggested we head more-or-less straight for Saddle Junction rather than the lazy contour the PCT followed, which looked like it would avoid a great deal of the snow (not all of it, but a large portion of it), and Saddle Junction was an easy landmark to spot and follow. "Just follow your shadows" I suggested. (Granted, shadows move throughout the day, but I figured we'd be well off the mountain before that became an issue.)

It worked out pretty well too. It wasn't particularly steep or dangerous like a couple of the other sections we passed before. We crossed a stream, which was one of the catching features I was looking for and confirmed we were going the correct direction. We spotted a smaller trail--not the official PCT, but another one that came off of it--which I also expected to cross. (Though admittedly, I wasn't sure if we'd see the trail buried under snow or not, so I wouldn't have been too surprised if we never found that trail.)

And finally we tromped into Saddle Junction where a gaggle of hikers had already congregated. They were planning to push on through the mountains. Which made me feel a bit more confident about tackling that section myself the next day.

Then we headed down another side trail--Devil's Slide. Isn't that a wonderful name? Sounds dangerous and scary, but it wasn't. The snow was gone from that trail, and it was remarkably well graded for how much elevation one lost going down it. Day hikers were everywhere! We must have passed a hundred people going up that trail, and I'd joke to most of them to "turn around.... while you still can.... It's not worth it...."

At the trailhead, Mad Hatter got us a ride from a fellow from San Diego who was kind enough to drive us another 2 1/2 miles into Idyllwild, and the next resupply point of our hike.

We stopped at Cafe Aroma for lunch. Tomer ordered the "Dogzilla," which I mention only because I liked the name "Dogzilla" so much. =) I ordered the "Grill and Chill," which I only mention because I'm full of myself and assume you all want to know what I had for lunch on May 8, 2010. Doesn't everybody? =)

While walking the rest of the way into town--unfortunately, our hitch didn't take us as far into town as we expected--and we stopped at the Fireside Inn to inquire about prices. That was where we found a local paper describing a thru-hiker who needed to be rescued near Apache Mountain, a helicopter rescue! I wondered if it was that same patch of snow that first caused Mad Hatter, Tomer, and myself such a problem. I'm not sure what exactly the injury involved, though fortunately it didn't sound especially serious since it was reported that he was already headed back home, the end of this year's hiking for him. I'm thinking perhaps a broken leg or something? I don't really know, though.

As we continued walking further into town, I bumped into my sister, Tierra--sporting a freshly purchased hat while trying to figure out where I was. I intended to call her from my cell phone, but it wasn't working and I was hoping to find a pay phone futher into town. Bumping into her directly sure made things easier, though! From there, she whisked me away into Riverside for me to shower, resupply, and enjoy the comforts of home. (Even if it wasn't my home.)


Okie Dog said...

Is that Mad Hatter and Tomer in the picture with the beer? Sure happy they were alright. Too bad about the other person and the accident. Would be interested to know, if you find out, if it really was where you had your ? spill? come uppance? Sounded moe like a jerk uppance to me. Slam the pole into the ground its going to cause whip lash, right? ;-)

Anonymous said...

So, are you officially not a PCT thru-hiker now that you've skipped part of the official trail?

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Is Mad Hatter the hot Jesus-looking dude or the other guy? lol!

Great pics. Glad it wasn't you that needed that helicopter evacuation.

Your lucky to have so much support during your thru hikes.

The ladybug orgy photo was great!

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers