March 21, Day 11
Mile 179. Idyllwild
I was up early, as seems to be the pattern as of late. My trail life is mimicking my corporate life in that regard. I have always been one to get to the office before most and get my day underway.
This pattern has served me well over the years. I am in the office before most, so I am able to get a huge amount of worked accomplished without being interrupted. Secondly, by around 4 in the afternoon, my work day is coming to a conclusion. Those whom come in at 9 will be at the office until 6 or later. For me, this is inconceivable.
So far this has also served me well hiking. I’m up early before the head. Generally I hike 10 miles before lunch, have a longer lunch and put in the rest of my miles before 5.
In the near future, when camp sites are limited, I think being ready to set up camp by 5 or 6 will work to my advantage. While other hikers are still putting in their miles, I’ll have my pick of camp sites.
As I was tearing down camp, Magoo and Magee began to stir. Soon they were getting ready for their day as well. We watched the sunrise and then I hit the trail. They were still a little while from being ready to go, but we figured we would run into each other at Paradise Valley Cafe.
The hiking this morning was the roughest I’ve had. The terrain wasn’t out of the ordinary. The temperature was cool with a slight breeze. The conditions seemed perfect, but I just couldn’t get going. I was just trudging along. I felt really worn out. My assumption is, the hike yesterday took a lot out of me and I hadn’t fully recovered.
With only 8 miles to hike in the morning, I knew dealing with the malaise would be rather short lived. Paradise Valley Cafe is at PCT mile 152 and is a known hiker oasis. It’s only a mile off trail, but is well worth the short walk to get there.
Additionally, I had a decision to make. Part of the PCT has been closed since 2013 due to a fire that swept through. To date, the trail hasn’t been made safe for hikers. There are hopes that it will reopen in 2016.
Due to the closure there are a couple alternate routes. One is a road walk on hwy 74 and 243. Both roads have very narrow shoulders which makes them exceptionally dangerous to walk along. The second option is a combination of side trails which add up to 2 additional days hiking. If I did the side trails I would likely not arrive in Idyllwild until Tuesday.
Brian and Austin are due to visit Idyllwild on Monday for an overnight. So the side trails weren’t really an option. Additionally, if I took the side trails it would put me behind schedule getting into Kennedy Meadows. I have a Snow Course I’m taking in the Sierra and if I fall behind, I will miss the start of the class and be left behind.
Some hikers are skipping the closed section of trail and hitching into Idyllwild. I saw this to be my best option for a variety of reasons. It preserves my schedule, I get to see Brian and Austin as planned and by getting to Idyllwild a day and a half early, I get some much needed rest and relaxation. Aside from the tendonitis, I’m not suffering any injuries. But I can feel the miles taking their toll. I would much rather take a day or two off now to allow my body to get recover and get stronger. Versus, continuing on and potentially suffering overuse injuries early on.
The plan is to come back and hike the closed section when it reopens.
Within an hour of hiking, Khalil caught up to me. I assumed he was ahead of me since I hadn’t seen him camping the night before. Turns out, I started before he did this morning and hadn’t noticed his camp when I passed it.
We hiked together a bit and chatted, then true to form, he was off.
We met up at Paradise Valley Cafe and had breakfast together. Soon after, Magoo and Magee rolled in. We all enjoyed breakfast and made preparations for our afternoon. Khalil refilled his water containers. Magee and Magoo collected their resupply package they had mailed to the cafe sometime before. Their plan was to take the detour that added a few days. Khalil didn’t make his plan abundantly clear. He seems to wing it a lot.
After lunch, I hitched a ride into Idyllwild and found a reasonable place to stay until Tuesday morning. The amenities of modern life are pretty amazing when you’ve been existing without them. Running water? A toilet? Hot water? Yes, please.
Here’s to rest and recovery. I’ll be back on the trail Tuesday. Stay tuned!