I did not start out the day with intentions of taking a zero, but it just happened that way.
I spent the night camped outside Paradise Valley Cafe, in order to have breakfast and find a ride to Idyllwild, there is a section of the PCT that is closed due to wildfires last year. In order to avoid road walking majority of hikers are hitching from Paradise Valley Cafe to Devils Slide Trailhead in Idyllwild. Devil's Slide is a 2.5 mile climb up to the PCT at the saddle junction of PCT mile 179.4.
While I was enjoying my breakfast and catching up on texts with friends and family, a local woman, Lou, was having breakfast with her husband, Larry, and friend, John, started chatting with me and asking about myself and the hike. Without even asking, a ride was offered and I graciously accepted.
Cyndy my awesome server from yesterday and accommodating host was also my server this morning. I, of course, asked for a picture. And graciously thanked her for everything.
Larry and Lou and their friend John and I all hopped in the truck. John was dropped off at his place down the road and Larry and Lou brought me up to Idyllwild-the fabulous trail angels they were, gave me a quick tour of town and dropped me off at the post office per my request. We exchanged hugs and well wishes and I was on my way.
My intention was to spend half a day in Idyllwild then hit the trail mid afternoon for a late day/evening hike.
1st stop Post Office to shed some trail weight...see Getting Rid of Some Weight Take 1 post to follow. Postman told me to make sure I checked out the local library next door, free used books for hikers and to check out Nomad Ventures, the local outfitters in town.
2nd stop pharmacy...loading up on fixing the feet and keeping free of infection
I don't typically use OTC pain relievers but I have been taking ibuprofen before I go to bed as an anti inflammatory and to help with the foot pain. I didn't take any last night because I ran out and I didn't sleep well at all. Until things settle with my feet, I'll continue my once daily dose of Vitamin I.
Then I went to Nomads to exchange my propane canister for a smaller one (another weight reducing measure). The guys in the store were super friendly and happy to see another thru hiker. They had me take my pack off and sit down and chat and hang out for a bit. I had Greg who is a local climber and backpacker look at my feet and right away suggested a few things: wool socks and taking a few days off. "You mean you wouldn't hike today?" I asked, "No way" and Clark and the other guy in the store agreed. We all agreed nothing looked infected, so after some discussion I was convinced to take a zero. Hard to accept at first, but glad I did in the end. I also bought a thin wool sock to try it for it's wicking capacity.
So after I came to peace with my zero day I enjoyed what Idyllwild has to offer, a mocha at the Higher Ground Coffee House, a sandwich at Nature's Cafe, my free book from the library, some kombucha and salt and pepper kettle chips from the health food market. My $3 campsite at the state park, a special rate for thru-hikers, and my $1 5-minute hot shower. Today was the first shower I had in 10 days!!! Oh yeah and some FaceTime with my brother, Eric, who's currently in London and FaceTime with Dad, Mom and my Izzy girl.
I met Dawson, another thru-hiker outside the library eating a half gallon of ice cream straight out of the container. I said "Oh yeah! Your hiking with Sandra, right? You guys have been right ahead of me in the trail logbooks." Sure enough Dawson and Sandra! They're thru-hiking for 3 months as Dawson is a school teacher and will go as far as 3 months will take them. They took a zero yesterday and were getting a ride from trail angel David this afternoon to Devil's Slide trailhead. David gave me his number and said he'd be happy to give me a ride in the morning if I needed a ride to the trailhead.
Something also really cool happened today. As I was checking into the state campground and signing the PCT logbook, a park ranger came up to me and asked if I would mind having my photo taken for an article she was writing on thru-hikers. I told her I would love too. She came down to my campsite and we chatted for a bit and she interviewed me about my journey and we took some pictures. She (Julie) is a journalist from New Zealand who's been in Idyllwild for the past 9 months working part time in the park and is free lancing and writing this article for a local Riverside paper. I was happy to share my story with her and others. She agreed to send my info once it's published.
Idyllwild is an awesome place to take a zero, the locals love thru-hikers and are willing to help out and also just sit and have a conversation with you with genuine interest. Local restaurants all have welcome PCT Hikers on their doors and most offer 10% discounts. A happy day in my books!!! And thank you everyone for your words of encouragement.