Burn Zones and Beautiful Mountains

Day 7
Mileage: 14.9

Total distance: 179.4

Camp tonight is at a state campground in the San jacinto mountains. There are about ten other north blunders around and hundreds of tourists camping out to enjoy the mountain town of Idyllwild. 

  • Driving up to Idyllwild. 

Waking up this morning was a chore. Yesterday’s long mileage exhausted my body and getting motivated to do anything was like pulling teeth. 

  • Waking up with the sun. 

As soon as we began hiking the trail started its gradual slope and my body was just not having it. I felt sluggish and lazy and it frustrates me to no end. I was accompanied by Roadhouse and I would see him off and on. It was nice to know he was having a hard time as well. 

  • Magical water caches. 

The trail slowly climbed for a long time over a ridge and then settled us back down into the valley where we came across some water caches and a trail angel with an extensive set up on her magic. She had water and drinks and books and shade and snacks and HAND SOAP!!! She was a gem. We met a couple of other hikers along the way and found out that everyone was having to skip a section of the trail due to a recent fire and we were bummed to have to rearrange our plans. We decided we would do what everyone else was doing rather than hiking through the burn zone and do a fifteen mile day to a cafe and hitch up to Idyllwild. 

  • Some pups at the tent. 

After devising a plan we got back on trail, sluggishly, and made our way up a ridge and down into a canyon and back over another ridge and out into an open valley. The climbs today were more significant than they have been this far and I felt spoiled by the early trail and angry at the present one. The AT still would laugh at these inclines. 

Once we got to the cafe we got a perfect hitch all the way to Idyllwild, which was about thirty miles away. The drive was gorgeous and as we gained elevation pine trees began to surround us. After doing some research I found out they were ponderosa pines. Not to be mistaken with Jeffery pines. Resin in pine trees can be used to make turpentine, but there are two species of pines that would not be a good idea to use for this and Jeffery pine is one of those trees. Jeffery pine has heptane in its resin, which is a highly explosive chemical. The tree only lives above 5,200 feet and ponderosa only grows beneath that so there is an easy distinction. Also, they’re cones are different in size. Jeffery carries a larger come. 

  • You can see where poles are being used. 

The mountain town of Idyllwild is gorgeous and a major tourist trap, but full of some amazing people. Roadhouse and I spent a solid hour talking with a man who owns a gear shop in town and then ate delicious bbq before finding a cheap place to camp in the state park. We took showers and did laundry along with doing some small item shopping like needles for sewing and Gatorade powder to fight dehydration even further. 

  • The town monument of Idyllwild. 

The San jacinto mountains stand at 10,000 feet at its peak and our trail tomorrow will skirt the base of the summit at around 8,000. There are a few burn zones ahead and as much as missing sections of the trail sucks, it’s nice to gain a few miles into the trail without burning a calorie. Preferably we would have been able to hike up to Idyllwild especially since our friend at the outdoor shop maintains the trail and is very proud of its beauty, but due to a non existent reroute and a no shoulder, busy, windy road to the summit, only 5 percent of hikers this year have gotten to see the section we were forced to skip. I’ll take this as an excuse to make it back to these glorious mountains to do some hiking and climbing. Supposedly the granite rock faces of the range are where some of the first climbs were ever led and where trad climbing began to be a real sport in the 30’s. This area is rich with beauty in the people and the environment. I’ll definitely be back some day. 

  • I thought I was a joke too, but it’s real. 

Thought of the day:

Five dollars for a 25 min shower or two dollars for a 10 min shower?

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