On Day 13 we hiked up a mountain to the Mountain Fire closure on the PCT (closed since a 2013 wildfire), then we hiked down a mountain on paved and rocky roads, then we hiked along a highway. We hiked for 19.1 miles: along the first true crest of the Pacific Crest Trail; past a Girl Scout compound that seemed to exist solely for bus evacuations, presumably of girl scouts; on a poorly maintained dirt road that made us finally resort to our music, dance-hiking to pop songs; underneath power lines; and finally hobbling along the white stripe on Highway 74.
We saw a hummingbird drink from the trickle of spring water coming from a metal pipe.
We hiked for a while with a hiker named Meta, who told us about backtracking over a mile to the previous highway crossing when he realized that he had been picked up on one side of the highway and dropped off on the other and had therefore not walked the width of the road. He had to go back and fix the break in his footsteps.
We saw our first real clouds of the trip, went to sleep in a virtually empty state park campground, and woke up to our first overcast sky.
We hiked up through clouds and past burn closures to Idyllwild, where there was a room at the Idyllwild Inn with a shower and a fireplace and a free load of laundry.
(Hikers, always pre-soak your laundry.)
We ordered a large pizza and Andrew ate almost half of it. We found the trail friends we’d lost track of over the past few days and ate really good food with them at a restaurant where a woman gave us little baggies of cookies just for being hikers.
We took our first “zero day”—a day without any miles hiked, a pure rest day, a glorious, glorious rest day—and it was good.
Day 13: 19.1 miles hiked: PCT Mile 154.7 to 162.6 + 0.5 mile to Tunnel Spring + 10.7 miles on the Mountain Fire alternate, ending at Hurkey Creek Campground
Day 14: 7.7 miles on the Mountain Fire alternate to the Idyllwild Inn
Day 15: 0 miles hiked, many calories eaten