Idyllwild, CA perches at 5413 feet amid tall pines in the San Jacinto Mountains. The town can be reached from several different points along the PCT making it another nexus of scruffy, hobbled people this time of year. Hikers are easy to spot usually wearing rain pants, puffy coat, and beanie and shuffling about town in flip flops. This is usually because all their other clothes are being laundered.
I am not sure when peak infestation occurs but I saw scores of hikers and rather than minding much, the townsfolk I encountered were nothing but welcoming. I had pancake breakfast at The Red Kettle and then hit the post office to grab another box. This time I returned with some unneeded gear that I exiled back home including bug juice, mosquito net, Apple Watch, and a few misc cords. Not much weight but it all counts. I’m getting to the point where I can feel my pack lighten when I take out a 1 liter water bottle (2.2 pounds).
So it was a day of chores and strategizing for what comes next. Ahead there is a trail closure due to a 2013 fire that requires a detour. Some folks use the rat’s nest of routes accessing Idyllwild to exit the trail before the closure and return to it past the closure. I’m no purist but I’ve decided to attempt a continuous path of walking for my PCT. This means I will return tomorrow morning to where I departed the trail and walk the suggested detour.
I also thought it would be useful to share an overview map that puts some of the places I mention in context. This link will take you to a larger view. This next leg will take about 5 days and land me in Big Bear.
Finally, there have been some questions about the speed and distance shown on the Garmin MapShare site. The GPS device I carry reports its location every ten minutes and draws a straight line from the previous point. If the trail was straight, an accurate speed and distance would be calculated but the trail is anything but straight. The local reading I get based on location pings every minute is 2.9 mph average to date. I use the official PCT mile marks to report distance. Accounting for elevation, I am going a bit faster than I had planned. The happy result being that I wound up in Idyllwild two days early and enjoyed a relaxing, recharge day.