Mile 178 to Idyllwild, 2 day 0s, to Mile 183
On Friday morning, we purposely didn't set an alarm - it was just a few miles to town and we had no real reason to hurry. It was amazing to sleep in (I didn't consider the fact that my day-to-day life would involve so many alarms) and we didn't leave camp until after 9. From mile 179.5, you take a 2.5 mile trail basically straight downhill into town. Luckily, at the end of the trail, there was a trail angel in the parking lot offering rides to us hikers for the last 2.5 into town. What a nice treat!
The cheapest place in town turned out to be awesome! Free laundry, wifi, and a whole suite, all for $50! We had to hurry to repack our bounce box and other things to send home, as the post office isn't open on the weekends. With a 6 pack of Lagunitas Little Sumpin to help make chores more bearable, they seemed to take care of themselves practically. Bumped into our friends Tracy and Ingrid at the post office, then headed next door to the pizza place after hearing they offer hiker discounts. Devoured a calzone and salad, and then bumped into more awesome hikers - The Flying Huns! Laurie, Vicki, and Chris are all from Idaho and retired, and they're fantastic. Headed back to go to sleep, and happened to find the Giants/Dodgers game on TV - the GMen won - Posey walkoff!
Fran and Jess came to visit on Saturday! They are the best friends - the 243 wound up closing due to fires nearby, and they had to backtrack to get here. It took them forever, and I felt so bad, but was so happy to see some familiar friendly faces. We spent the afternoon and evening hanging out in town - had a few beers at JoAn's and then went to Arriba's Mexican for an early Cinco de Mayo dinner. They designated themselves our official trail angels, and refused to let us pay for anything. Jess and Fran, if you're reading this, I owe you dinner and drinks! It was lots of fun, but I was so sad to see them go. Similar to the stint in San Diego, it was so great to have the company, but then it felt a little empty and more lonely when they left - the solitude was amplified.
We were supposed to get back to the trail on Sunday morning, but I just couldn't bring myself to leave - I couldn't wrap my head around the idea of hiking again. My body still had some repairs to take care of, and my spirits needed a little lifting as well. We spent the day as any good thru-hiker should spend a day zero - laying on the couch resting. Literally didn't leave the hotel all day, but I shot down the idea of ordering food in the hotel because I, of course, started to get bored. Walked around town and found Cafe Aroma, a nice, cozy little Italian place for a pretty good dinner.
The bummer about putting off getting back to the trail for a day is that the following day you actually do have to return to the trail. There was no more stalling to be had, despite the fact that there was a storm blowing in! Didn't get back on the trail until about 1:15 though. The slog just to get back to the PCT was wet and cold. I was wet and miserable. After seemingly endless switchbacks up the trail, I was more emotionally drained than I've been the whole trip, and very seriously considered the prospect of turning around and going back to Idyllwild and figuring out a way to go back home. I told Brett that if things don't get easier (and more fun!) soon, I'm not sure I can make it for the long haul. I'm drained physically and emotionally.
We only made it 6.5 miles, due to the fact that I was CRAWLING and the late start. We were freezing when we got here - it rained on us the entire hike - and pitching the tent in the pouring rain was a new challenge. Our hands were so wet and cold we couldn't do anything - taking off shoes, zipping the tent, etc. were all seriously difficult tasks. Thankfully, it warmed up quickly and dearest Slosh took care of cooking dinner while I shivered in my sleeping bag. Mashed potatoes helped warm the insides!