Day 7: It is ideal to be idle in Idyllwild

May 1
Mileage 13 (12 plus 1 mile roadwalk to paradise cafe)
Mile 140 to mile 152

I had my first good night’s sleep on a warm, cracked cistern beneath the dusty stars. At dawn I rose to fill my gatorade bottles with tannin-colored rain water drawn from the cistern with a bucket- bits of debris floated in the water. Molly McButter chose to pre-filter his water through his PCT 2014 hanky. “Why are you filtering?” I said. “Delicious broth of the earth.”

The trail was hot and sandy today and our feet still felt as though they were on fire. Twinkletoes, Molly McButter and I made our way up and then down the mountain, winding on the loop-di-loop trail until I felt as though I would go insane. I listened to music; Taylor Swift and the Against Me! Acoustic EP, which made me nostalgic for my early twenties. Or maybe it’s that so many people out here are in their early twenties. I want to be where they are; I want to be WITH them.

We reached the road and walked it to the paradise cafe, where I picked up my neo air!! (OMG SO EXCITED) and then we stuck out our thumbs to hitch to Idyllwild, choosing to save our appetites for the epic pizza place there. The trail between Paradise Cafe and Idyllwild is closed due to the fire last year; some people have chosen to road-walk to Idyllwild but most have hitched and road-walking fifteen odd miles sounded, this morning, like living hell- so we stuck out or thumbs and caught a ride from a couple of dude-bros with a death wish in the biggest pickup truck I have ever seen. They sped around the narrow curves, throwing us against the doors and into each other, and then dropped us in Idyllwild. So I’ve effectively skipped 25 or so miles of the PCT. But fire closures- what can you do.

In Idyllwild we found NotaChance and Sheriff Woody, a dear, dear young man who I hiked with the first day, and the gaggle of us headed to the pizza shop, where I ate an entire gluten-free pizza. (hiker hunger is here at last, and it feels AWESOME.) We then wrangled a room at the Pines Motel and exploded our packs everywhere, did laundry, all the little things. It’s now past my bedtime and I’m exhausted- my feet are blistering nicely, my butt chafe has mysteriously heeled, one of my ankles is sore. We hike out in the morning, and will attempt to get all the way from here, up over the mountain, and down the other side to the Water Fountain In The Desert before dark. I like this group of folks- they’re funny, and kind, and bright-eyed. I like my life. I like everything.


8 thoughts on “Day 7: It is ideal to be idle in Idyllwild

  1. Carrot: I followed you through the last hike and ever since then. I could be wrong about what I am going to say so please just think about it for a second and then discard it. I think that your writing is best when you are on the edge and you can only be there when you are experiencing something for the first time. Your second pass on the PCT is so many things—courageous, brave, and inspiring (among others on a list too long to include here). As physically and mentally difficult as this will be–and do not misunderstand me because I totally will be pissed if you don’t stick with this one and finish again–you already did it before. The familiar holds a tremendous allure and it is more than natural to seek comfort and to be in a place that seems to somehow make sense—a lot of this though is an illusion. Unless your genre is to become a Nancy Drew like series of adventures with familiar scenery and characters you seem at your best when you are emotionally pained and uncertain about how the story is going to end. It is this part of your writing that always kept me wondering where you (physically) were and what kind of crap you were managing to climb over, under or around. That kind of stuff just seems, maybe largely through the choices you make, to find its way into your future. You definately don’t want your writing to become nothing more than a series of letters to friends and sisters. And above all do not forget to cling to your honesty no matter what else happens. Somehow we have the ability to forgive people for being human but not for failing to be themselves. I think you are terrific and again, please disregard this and just think about your hike.

  2. Interesting comment from Mark. Regardless of everything, your trail and related blog posts stand above the rest. I didn’t think we were going to see even as much as you’ve posted this time around, so it’s all bonus reading in my book. Have a great hike, it’ll no doubt be different than the last.

  3. Oh, Carroty Carrotness – I love that I’m reading you live, so to speak, after reading last years blog like a book. As I read I both crave and dread the trail. What I like most about my responses to reading you is my feeling of familiarity/resonance/empathy/amusement, a just being-in-itness – if that makes sense- that you convey so well. Today, a year seems like such a long time. I wanna be hiking. Wishing you warm sleeps, good company or aloneness and the ability to kick 24 year old butt.

  4. Keep them coming carrot, I love it when I see a new post in the inbox.There’s plenty of new drama yet to play out….

  5. What if you only ever listened to your favorite song once? I think you could walk the PCT every year and there would be something or someone new to observe around every corner. Since you always see the world through such comical yet sad eyes, I am sure this trip will provide lots of memorable posts that will keep all your readers engaged,touched, and a bit jealous of your grand journey. Hike on.

  6. Carrot I am pretty sure that wonderful group like you too. How can we not love the sprit of a woman who pours her soul on paper. Thank you.

  7. Hi Carrot – love how beautifully written your story is, and looking forward to meeting you on the trail in the next couple of weeks as you pass through the 100 miles of the PCT I call my backyard (~270 – 370). As you approach, if you think of anything at all that would make your day a little brighter, let me know and I will do everything in my power to make it so. Cheers!

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