May 11 (Day 10)

Boulder Field to Ridge Site (miles 144 to 161.9)

Daily miles: 17.9

Morning’s nice and cool and I coast the 7 miles to highway 74.  I stick my thumb out for a ride down to the cafe where I can get a hamburger and some water but can’t get a ride.  I’m not very confident in my hitching abilities yet, so maybe I just didn’t give it enough time.  Either way, I walk the mile down the highway and post up on a patio table for a couple hours and talk and eat and drink.  When I leave I toss my thumb up again for a ride back to the trail and get a ride in under a minute (first ever successful hitch for me).

Now most hikers are skipping this section because 10 miles after highway 74 the PCT closes due to the Mountain Fire.  They just catch a ride from the cafe to the town of Idyllwild which is 15 miles away.  I want to walk though so up i go into the hot countryside.  Heavy hiking from my large lunch, but all that food is giving me some great energy and I’m powering through.  I feel all alone for the first time on trail and scurry up to 7000 ft, which is the highest I’ve been on trail so far.  At night I cowboy camp on the ridge and watch the lights of Palm Springs twinkle to life.  The wind picks up and I cinch my sleeping bag tight and listen to the trees creaking in the breeze.

Sunset from previous night
Near the fire closure
Ridge sunset silhouette

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