Ridge site to Idyllwild (miles 161.9 to 162.7 + 20 mile fire alternate)
Daily miles: around 20.8
Today’s the big fire alternate day. I hike 1 mile down the PCT and reach the trail closure. Once there, it’s the Cedar Springs Trail all the way down off the ridge and then road walking for the rest of the day. I put in some tunes and practice my dance moves when I think noone’s around. One road leads to the next and by late morning I’m back to highway 74, only a couple miles down the road from the cafe I ate at yesterday. I find a bike route about 100 yards from the highway and walk on that for a few miles. Meet an old man with a big old white beard peddling furiously through the sandy ground towing his little chihuahua in a kiddie carrier behind him. Friendly fellow, and we have a stop-n-chat. He gives me high marks for my devotion.
As I go up into the mountains again the highway starts winding and gets treacherous so I have to do some route finding before I come across a mountain bike road which drags up to May Valley Road, which will take me (finally) to the junction for Idyllwild. The heat bakes me and I listen to my tunes again and sing loudly and off key to scare away the heat demons. After I get bored of that I listen to a podcast about conservation, and it’s really compelling because it makes a pretty solid argument for the trophy hunting of endangered animals. Which sounds crazy, but maybe (maybe…) is actually working. So, I am challenged physically and emotionally as I walk into town and I arrive fully exhausted.
Idyllwild is a great mountain town with laundry and restaurants, gear shops and groceries, library and coffee houses. I get lost a handful of times before finding the state park campground which only charges 3.00 per night for camping. I’m happy because I see my friends that were a day behind me (they skipped the fire alternate). I eat way way too much, and have a dessert of 2 candy bars and 2 packages of M&Ms. My stomach seems unsure abut all of this, poor little fella. Tomorrow is my first zero day (no miles walked)!