Reaching Idyllwild was the first major milestone. It was the first “real” town stop, and my first zero. I had sorted out some gear changes to make after now having desert hiking experience and was ready to charge into the desert in earnest.
I met up with Robin, whom I rode the bus to Campo with, in the afternoon out of Idyllwild. We hiked this entire section together until the evening before the last day into Wildwood. He stayed just ahead of me by hours or days for the next several hundred miles, and we never crossed paths again.
The most unanticipated part of this section, was having to bypass a section of trail that was closed for a fire that had occurred years ago. It involved a road walk of over five miles after walking several miles over the desert floor. It was hot, but being used to hot hiking conditions, the heat was not the problem. Buses were the problem.
There are three buses to catch to get from the Morongo Casino to Big Bear Lake where the easiest access on the other side of the road closure was. It was a tight schedule and required some hustle to make the first bus, but we missed the second bus and had to use Uber to catch the third bus.
The AT has very few closed sections and fire does not cause long term damage the way it does on the PCT. This was a new experience for me, and would not be the last time I was forced onto a road because of closed sections of trail.
Further excitement ensued after a day of gorging on McDonald’s when realizing at the end of a day that I had left my prescription sunglasses at an afternoon rest break. I dropped my pack and ran back several miles until dark, and never found them. I did, however, find a pair of cheapo gas station sunglasses, that I was to use for the rest of the trip.
These are the blog entries detailing the second week’s journey from Idyllwild, CA to Wrightwood, CA.