Miles 109.5 – 266

Disclaimer: I’m hastily writing this before heading out of town, sorry for any typos and/or rambling. I did post some new photos, they’re just  not in the post…

Hiker Terms to Know:
Zero Day (zero): what we call a rest day(often in town), when zero miles are hiked.
Nearo: a day where we only hike a couple of miles (less than 10), often on the way in or out of town.
Hiker Hunger: the ravenous beast of hunger that consumes us… we’re burning somewhere around 4000 calories a day, therefore we’re always hungry.
Cowboy Camping: sleeping under the stars, no tent

These miles have been amazing. There has been a LOT of climbing, a couple restful days, endless views, and plenty of new friends.

After a wonderful zero day in Warner Springs, complete with the luxury of bucket-showers, bucket-laundry, and free wi-fi, we set out for our next leg of the trail. We camped near a spring, had a couple hot days, and made it to Paradise Valley Cafe where burgers and fries greeted us. So satisfying.

In Idyllwild we had a great campfire, cooked some real food and met some fellow hikers. I made sure to sample the local cuisine, including pastries and pizza. We also did laundry! It was great to have clean AND dry clothes! I really started to notice the little luxuries in Idyllwild, no doubt.

Some friends and I decided we wanted to sunrise-summit one of the taller peaks in southern California, San Jacinto. Since the peak is about 6 miles from Idyllwild, with over 5,000 feet of elevation gain, we decided to get a head start on the hike that evening. We ended up cowboy camping on the trail, waking up at 2:30 a.m. to start hiking again, only to realize we had misjudged our mileage. We settled for an 8,000 ft sunrise, and summited San Jacinto around 8:00 am. It was SO satisfying being THE tallest thing around…worth all the huffing and puffing during the climb!

We had a handful of tough hiking days, decending 9000 ft one day, climbing 5000 ft the next. And it was HOT, reaching 110 degrees one day. We found sweet relief in a cool, gushing stream, sitting in it for hours…rinsing out socks and shirts. We built a shaded fort too…it was all I could have ever wanted.

It’s been a pretty social leg of the trip, I’ve only had a handful of hours of hiking by myself. There is an ebb and flow of hikers, you see the same people for a few days, then they hike ahead or stay behind. There is a constant stream of new people, which is exciting and sometimes exhausting. It’s nice to have a handful of familiar faces to camp and eat with at the end of the day.

We’ve hit 266 miles, 10% of the trail complete! We take advantage of any opportunity to celebrate. Any achievement is significant. It simultaneously feels like the last 3 weeks have zipped by, and that I have been here forever, the way immersive, intense experiences often do.

I’m looking forward to the next 100 miles and will give you guys an update when I reach Wrightwood! Thanks for ALL the good vibes and thoughts, I so appreciate it!

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