Today was our first Nero day. A Nero day for a thru-hiker is when you don’t hike a full day and instead almost take a day off, a near Zero. With that goal in mind we awoke at 5:30 to arrive in town by lunch (food is becoming a large focus). A peaceful, if slightly sloped, night on the San Jacinto Mountains meant a ridge top walk across rocky scree for the first morning miles. The trail soon turned west, and became enveloped in pine forest with, strangely enough, patches of snow. Stoping to collect water at a beautiful spot nestled by a stream, we climbed the final 450 feet before our long descent. It was at this point that we started to meet all the Idyllwild residents hiking up the hill for their Saturday morning. Leaving the PCT we turned onto Devils Sidetrail, a 2.5 mile switchback descent that just kept going. Finally arriving at the car park near the bottom, we realized we had to keep hiking the road into town. After a while we managed to pick up a hitch, with all three of us piling into the back of an open bed truck. A short ride later they dropped us off in the centre of town. The only problem was they started having a conversation with us about our hike in he middle of the street, which led to a traffic jam. Deciding lunch was the priority we holed up at a Mexican place, where the portion sizes were so big none off us could finish them. After some gear shopping for Nathan, the insole saga continues, with the total cost now at $160 and a failed attempt to cut them to size, with the material merely disintegrating. Outside the post office we ran into SWC, his wife, and two dogs. More thru-hikers could be spotted through the town. At this point Nathan acquired the trail name Sole Catcher after his insole saga, which is now becoming somewhat legendary. From there are lodgings were ready and showers were needed. Laundry followed suit and was where we met Shedder (dropped 9 pounds of gear at Warner Springs) and Kate, as well as running into Noah the Prophet, who we hadn’t seen for a week. Dinner was at a local restaurant where Noah informed us of various crazy occurrences we had missed on the trail. We also chatted to B Back who had heard and seen a mountain lion outside his tent last night, only a couple of miles from where were. With dinner over and a bunch of hikers talking over the town, we headed to a warm bed, the first in 12 days. Fires are currently burning to the west, but are not an issue at the moment. Instead we may be hiking into snowfall in the next couple of days.
Miles hiked – 11