Day 11: Nero to Idyllwild 

April 28, 2017

Total miles: 8.1 miles

Start: Hurkey Creek Park (on alternate)

End: Idyllwild 

Total elevation gain/loss: 1740.5/815.9ft

Our first “nero” of the hike! We only had about 8 miles to go this morning before arriving in Idyllwild. In order to maximize our town time, we were up with the sun again.

Another wonderful morning!
Today’s alternate route kept us off of the state highway. First on a trail and then on a dirt road before dumping us on the back roads of Idyllwild. I turned on my audiobook and I was off! Michael and I walked separately for much of he morning, in part because his hip was feeling funky (making a popping noise with every step).

We both attended Astro Camp as kids, so it was fun to walk by!

Idyllwild has the cutest houses.


The streets leading into Idyllwild are lined with adorable cabins but take you on a circuitous route. It took forever to get to the center of town (especially considering that once we were in town it was no longer considered socially acceptable to stop where ever I wanted to pee). 

As expected, our room at the Idyllwild Inn wasn’t ready when we showed up at 9am. Unexpectedly, our package wasn’t there waiting for us. The guy at the front desk recommended that I check at the Post Office across the street. Sure enough, it was there. I’d sent the package to the Inn’s PO box per their instructions, but it’s unclear who messed up in the delivery side (another hiker sent their package to the Post Office and it was delivered to the Inn). I’m just thankful the Post Office was open, otherwise this could have been a problem.

Next up was figuring out our plan for getting back to the PCT. We’d heard conflicting reports of whether microspikes were needed to climb San Jacinto and Fuller Ridge, so we headed to the local outfitters for the scoop. Our plan had been to reconnect with the PCT via the South Ridge Trail so that we could get back to mile 177.1 (where the fire closure ended). After much consideration, I’ve decided that my personal trail “philosophy” is to try to hike all open miles of the PCT and connect steps where possible (I know a fire closure can prevent this if there is no legal walk around), but I’m open to the occasional detour that skips PCT miles if it’s for a major sight (and doesn’t significantly shorten the miles). Hiking up San Jacinto seemed like one of those alternates.

Unfortunately, the guy at the outfitters told us that the PCT between mile 178 and 179 (where the Devil’s Slide trail connects) was treacherous. Crampons and ice axes were necessary and the guy who puts together the snow report refused to return because it was so bad. The section is advised only for experts… which we aren’t when it comes to snow and ice. It looks like we’ll be skipping a couple PCT miles after all and reconnecting via the Devil’s Slide trail tomorrow. It’s a bummer, but I’d rather not put myself on the wrong side of a wall of blue ice (his words). 

We spent the rest of the morming/early afternoon grabbing breakfast, sorting through our resupply, doing laundry (and sporting amazing “town clothes”), visiting the library for wifi and computer access, and picking up a few additional provisions.  

Clothes and book courtesy of the hiker box. So stylish.


Finally, it was time to check into our cabin — which is awesome. Only to be topped by hot showers! 

Our living room!

Also, the mayor of Idyllwild is a dog.


For dinner we headed to the local pizza place for pizza and beer. Looks like we’ll be having cold pizza for breakfast (my favorite). Sadly, we are still on hiker time and need to make an early start tomorrow to climb San Jacinto, so it’s off to bed early for us.  

I’ve really enjoyed my time in Idyllwild. It would be the perfect place for a zero, but that’s not in the cards for us. We have to be in Big Bear by next Thursday so that we can catch a Friday flight to D.C. for our friends’ wedding. With almost 4 zeros coming up for us, we’ll just have to wait until then to relax (and stay on schedule in the meantime).

Current ailments:

Elizabeth: a couple lingering blisters; inner thigh chafing. My feet are feeling a lot better, so I’m hoping that the new shoes are doing the trick. Fingers crossed.

Michael: 1 old blister; potential poison oak (or heat rash); popping hip

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