April 27, 2017
Total miles: 16.5 miles (6.9 miles on PCT, 9.6 miles on alternate)
Start: mile 159.7
End: Hurley Creek Park (on alternate)
Total elevation gain/loss: 1635.5/3532.8ft
The wind roared last night, but our tent spot ended up being almost perfectly protected. I’ll take a win where I can get one. We were up at our typical 5:30am this morning and ready to finish out the open section of the PCT and begin hiking the alternate.
Once again, we knew that we’d be ending early today since we don’t want to be in Idyllwild until tomorrow. The real prize was that about 1/2 mile before our intended camping spot was a market. With cold beer. And toilets. Pretty much the perfect motivator for us these days.
I actually lost sight of the trail at one point this morning. I was going down switchbacks and apparently I missed one and kept walking. I was quickly back on trail but felt silly — this is supposed to be an easy trail to follow! Michael apparently had no such problems.
We turned left at the trail closure and headed down the Fobes Ranch Trail. The trail switch backed down the hill until it hit water (yay!) and a parking lot. From there it was a dirt road walk until we hit the highway.
Luckily for us, we were able to take a side trail and avoid most of the highway walking. We only had to walk along the highway for the last 1.6 miles or so!
We got to the market by 1pm — not bad for 16 miles, but I guess that’s what the allure of a beer (and bathroom) will do! We enjoyed a cold beer with our tuna burrito lunches (trail food). But first, an ice cream! A girl has to have priorities.
From the market it was a short 1/2 mile walk to the Hurkey Creek Campground. We’d heard that PCTers might be able to camp for free. Nope. We could have joined a group of 5, but instead opted for our own site nearby with the thought that others could join us and split the cost. Michael even got to take a shower (he’s worried about possible poison oak)! I just took a bandana bath — I get to shower tomorrow after all!
We spent the evening hanging out with Tinman, Captain Bubbles, Martin, Caley, and others. Apparently most people here road walked from Paradise Valley Cafe instead of walking the open PCT section and alternate. I still don’t get it, but whatever. More joined later as we headed to bed (so while we ended up sharing our site, we didn’t get to share the cost, oh well).
I’m looking forward to a short hiking day tomorrow into Idyllwild!! It will be our first night in a hotel and real shower since getting on trail.
Elizabeth: a couple lingering blisters; inner thigh chafing
Michael: 1 old blister; potential poison oak (or heat rash)