April 23, 2017
Hurkey Creek Campground – Idyllwild (Alternate Mile 9.1 – Alternate Mile ~17)
It was a slow and cold start to the morning. I got dressed and went to the bathroom, then returned to my sleeping bag to eat the oatmeal I had soaked overnight. With added peanut butter, it was actually delicious.
We got hiking around 7, and headed through the campground to find the next step on the alternate, a bike path that parallels the highway. We had to sneak through a campsite where two people were sleeping in hammocks, under the watchful eye of their dog, in order to access the trail.
After hiking on the bike path for a while, the rest of the day was walking on roads. It felt like a long day, even though we only walked 8 miles into town. The roads had a lot of steep ups and downs, so we got to alternate between working our leg muscles and pounding our joints.
Our sign for Cougar and Dr. McDirty.. PANCAKES THIS WAY!
Hiker hunger is definitely setting in. Even though I ate in the morning before leaving, and stopped for a couple of snack breaks along the way, the hunger was unstoppable. Dreams of a pancake breakfast danced through my head through all 8 miles.
Finally, we saw the first signs of civilization as we entered the outskirts of town. Idyllwild is a really adorable little mountain town, with tons of little shops and restaurants. Of course, our first stop was the Red Kettle for breakfast. I had pancakes, eggs, and veggie sausage, and it was AMAZING. Oh, and hot coffee obviously.
During breakfast, we looked into the options for accommodations in town, and the Silver Pines Lodge looked promising. We wandered over after we finished eating, and were able to book a cabin for all 4 of us (me, Gummies, Cougar, and Dr. McDirty) for two nights. The lodge offers a hiker discount and did a load of our laundry for free, so they’re definitely in my good books.
Our Idyllwild home!
The afternoon was spent sitting on the porch using the WiFi, stretching, and attempting to figure out resupply stuff. Also, showering. It felt incredible to actually be clean. When we got our laundry back, I couldn’t believe how good my clothes smelled. It was amazing. Time passed quickly, and before long we headed back out into town to find somewhere to eat dinner. It felt great to walk around town in flip flops with no pack.
The town is extremely welcoming to hikers 🙂
After much deliberation, we ended up at The Lumber Mill for dinner, which ended up being a great choice. I got a veggie burger with “Texas toothpicks” (basically deep fried onions and jalapeños), and it was AMAZING. They say the Paradise Valley Café is the best burger on trail, but I’d say this was better. We all devoured our dinners is record time, because the hiker hunger is real.
A most bizarre combination, only thru-hikers would come up with
After dinner, we wandered over to a little market across the street and bought beers and snacks (ie. cookie dough). We all sat on the porch of our cabin drinking and eating. I’m now lying in a real bed, which feels strange and incredible all at once. I’m clean, full of good food, and so happy. Tomorrow, I can stay in bed as long as I want, then get up to figure out resupply stuff and shower for the second day in a row. Life is good. Good night.