Hitching in the evening isn’t a good idea. Mostly because it leads to hitching at night. But what do we know? We haven’t even been on the trail three weeks. And we’re having a great time in Idyllwild.
Dr. Sole cooks up corizo tacos for breakfast. The morning is cold, so we’re warming up in the sun beams as the sun climbs above the hills. Some folks show up, set up a shade awning and a kitchen, and start serving spinach omelettes in a tortilla wrap. Second breakfast. Thank you Little Steps and Tarzan. We laugh as Tarzan calls in hikers coming down the trail from Lookout Mountain. A genuine Tarzan yell.
And, they serve margaritas. Margaritas in the morning on Cinqo de Mayo. So nice. And there goes our motivation for getting back on the trail. Why not take the day off and go into
Idyllwild? We haven’t been in a town for a couple weeks. We could wash clothes, eat food, take showers, eat food … We hitch into Idyllwild.
I feel a little uncomfortable being in what is to me a busy town. Cars, people, signs, sounds, lights, decisions pressing to be made, distractions. There’s a letter for us from Mom-Grandma at the post office with $20 in it she says is for pizza. Thanks, Mom. We find snacks and wifi. We skype with Lori in Malaysia. We eat more food. We finagle showers at the state park (just act like we’re camping there, put money in the shower token machine, and use the showers). Very nice showers, by the way.
After pizza, we start our hitch back. It’s well into the evening. A pickup stops. I tell the driver we are headed back to near Paradise Cafe, about 12 miles away. He says okay. He pulls over at the Lake Hemet Store. That’s as far as he’s going. We’re still six miles away from camp and now it’s dark.
But, on this evening, dark is relative. This is the night of the Super Moon (14% brighter and 30% bigger than other full moons of 2012). A number of hikers we know are night hiking into the San Jacinto Mountains under this moon.
Bright moon, or not, we’re still hitching in the dark. Pretty sketchy. I squeeze my photon LED light and shine it on the girls as they hold up a thumb and the “Hiker to Trail” side of our PCT bandana we were given at the Kick Off. Maybe the light gives us a little extra measure of safety. Nobody stops. Nobody even slows down.
The store closes. The employees don’t offer us rides. It starts to get cold. We put on our somewhat damp clothes. Didn’t quite finish drying them at the laundromat. Damp hiking clothes still keep you warm, right? We talk about how we’d set up camp nearby, or sleep on the sidewalk in front of the store, except that we left our tent and sleeping bags at Dr. Sole’s camp. Rookie mistake – getting separated from our gear.
Blaze goes over to the store and sits on the bench by the door. It’s warmer there from radiant heat off the sidewalk and concrete block building. An SUV pulls up. A fellow gets out and seems to be looking for something. I hear snippets of conversation. He asks if Blaze is alright (she’s looking pretty miserable). She asks if he can help him find what he’s looking for. She asks if he would be our trail angel. We have a ride.
Rick, our trail angel, is a biology teacher at a local high school. He is out looking for beetles. He has various desert plants in various containers in the back seat. He happily answers our questions like whether horny toads emit blood out of their eyes as a defense mechanism. They do. And what are those fuzzy looking ants. They’re actually a type of hornet and sting, so don’t try to catch them. Thank you for the ride, Rick.
It is late. The moon is bright. And Dr. Sole is waiting up for us. We sit around his propane campfire for a bit and recount our evening adventure. Then off to the sleeping bags. It’s cold out.
PCT Day 18: No miles hiked. Camped again by the PCT and Highway 74 intersection near Paradise Cafe.
Click here to read Blaze’s post, Be My Angel?, about this adventure.