Cumulative Miles: 151.9 Location: Idyllwild, CA
Closing out our second week on the trail in an amazing little mountain town called Idyllwild. Reminds me of a small-scale Jackson Hole, and described by Shaughn Dugan as “a little slice of Oregon in Southern California.” Log cabins, cafes, small organic market, friendly people, it’s been a delightful morning. Although last night I had a taco salad and threw that up rather quickly. The diet is changing, and the body can’t handle a little fiesta I suppose.
Several times a day I ask myself 2 questions: “Where are we?” and “What’s the rush?”
The answer to “Where are we?” is never answered. I don’t get it. I am really bad at geography and had no idea we’d be cruising through so many mountains in this so-called “desert.” I’m a moron. I like to go into adventures blindly because I don’t want my opinions to be biased or previously formulated by other people. I only like to know where the next water is, I feel that is important. This being said, the scenery has been unbelievable, and always being surprised at each switchback keeps my spirits and curiosity high.
What’s the rush? There is none. But I’ve gotten into this weird rhythm that whenever there is a long climb and unrelenting sun baking me alive, I speed up. My legs detach from my body and before I know it 2 hours have gone by, and I’m sitting in a patch of shade with my shoes off. It might be my favorite part of the day. When I meet up with everyone later I tell them how much fun I had on that climb, they give me looks of confusion and Mark says “Julie, I’m a bigger fan of type 2 fun.” I love the challenge sunny exposed inclines bring, and it’s always welcoming to find your flow on the trail, but don’t worry, I do stop a lot to take it all in. It is way too gorgeous not to.
Trail Names! As stated in the previous post, our trail group name is “Mile 55.” We now all have individual trail names as well. Maggie and Mark, Chuckles and Little Spoon, have thru-hiked the Appalachian trail and already had nicknames. Maggie is “Chuckles” because she laughs at everything really loudly with a great contagious rhythm. And because she’s an evil clown. Mark is “Little Spoon,” because they are married and Maggie is the dominant sleeper. We like to just call him Spoon. Jon has been named “Centerfold” because he is very set on his opinion (fact) of the worst song ever written and recorded. The question has one answer, and one answer only. All other answers are invalid and will not even be considered. The worst song ever is Centerfold, by the J. Geils Band. End of discussion. Shaughn has been named “The Camel of Corvallis” after a story he swears he will tell us one day, but we all have a very good feeling he is making it all up. There is no story. But he promises one. We just call him Camel which is great because he does a great Camel impression. I have been named “Toe Touch” because I start and end everyday with a TOE TOUCH. Why? Because it’s a MOOD BOOSTER.
All in all, this last week has been amazing. It’s been high 80’s during the day, and low 40’s at night. We are sleeping a bit better, and have been smelling worse than every wet dog you’ve ever had, combined, in a landfill. We end each day with bandanna sponge baths, eat supper at sunset, and retire to our tents before 8PM. We take a 2 hour break in the midday heat and try to get a little siesta in. We begin hiking at different times, and all catch up around lunch and hike most of the afternoons together. We understand everyone’s desire for a little personal space, but really enjoy being together. We make friends with new hikers and then scare them away after 8 minutes with uproarious laughter and cult-like tendencies. No, but seriously, we’ve met a lot of incredible hikers and trail angels out here so far. My favorite being a British family of 4, Ma, Pa, and a 10-year-old girl (Pippy) and an 8-year-old boy, (Captain Obvious). Camel gave them the family trail name of “Britt Family Robinson” and it stuck. They are the cutest thing going and I am trying really hard to ditch Mile 55 and enter into their family. It hasn’t been working.