It began with a sleep in, not awaking until 6:30 am. As we did not need to check out of our accommodation early, it was decided to have a relaxing morning and start on the trail in the afternoon. Having quickly scouted the town we found a lovely breakfast place called Oma’s, which served pastries, bagels and hot chocolate. Appreciating the good food we didn’t move for a while. As Nathan still needed insoles for his shoes we headed over to the local gear supplier, whereupon miracles of miracles, Nathan managed to finally acquire some that worked. Total cost ran to $200 all up for one pair of soles. Not wanting to spend any more money on gear we sorted the rest of our stuff and decided on lunch back at Oma’s. A call to a local trail angel Dave provided us with a lift back up to the car park at the start of the switchback we had hiked yesterday. Hoisting our packs and saying goodbye to Idyllwild we began the gentle but incessant 2.5 mile climb back to the PCT. Less then an hour later we were back on track, and continued to climb for a couple more miles. Soon a turn to the west provided spectacular views back over the valley that situated the town of Idyllwild. Continuing on we climbed to just shy of 9,000 feet, the highest we had ever hiked. With patches of snow by the trail we stopped to have dinner by the last water for 20 miles and 7,000 feet. Just before we left my thermometer read 8 degrees and with a cold wind howling from the west the air was probably near zero. One other PCT thru-hiker, Jess from Seattle, showed up as dinner was packed away. Not staying too long to chat as we were freezing, we donned gloves, hats and jackets to start the long descent to the desert below. After climbing over Fuller Ridge in the clouds, we plunged into more forest. Half an hour before camp we needed our head torches to light the way, finding camp in the dark with the wind howling and flurries of rain.
Miles hiked – 12 + 2.5