Jacob Leistra / "Game Boy" / PCT 2019

Days 9 and 10: Idle and Wild in Idyllwild

Day 9: Mile 145.5 -> Mile 151.8, Hitchhike into Idyllwild

Day 10: Mile 151.8 - Zero miles on trail

We pushed 6.5 miled to Paradise Valley Cafe to reward ourselves with breakfast. We all ordered a huge plate of chicken fried steak and eggs, and drained a few cups of coffee. Our plane was to hitchhike into Idyllwild, spent the day figuring out stuff, and camping. The following day was our first real, planned zero: we hoped to cook a “family” dinner, watch the Game of Thrones finale, and rest our legs.

So we did just that! But before getting started, we stumbled on the Idyllwild’s mayor’s birthday celebration. Here we are wishing him well:

(Yes, the mayor of Idyllwild is a golden retriever named Max. He is even more adorable in person.)

The party included seemingly endless (and free!) sandwiches, pizza, cake, and ice cream. We couldn’t believe how friendly all the locals were, and just how welcoming everyone was to a bunch of stinky hikers with bottomless stomaches.

Camping that night was equal parts great and terrible. It was fun because we got to cozy up in our tents/tarps at the Idyllwild Campground during the rain. It was awful because it keep raining and raining and raining, which meant we all got wet no matter how protected we were. I was damn near frozen when I finally got up to pack my things. All of our stuff was wet and we are all a bit miserable. We needed to spend some time getting warm before we were able to check in to our cabin, so we grabbed coffee in a quaint bakery nearby. (We also found out they had copious amounts of 50% day old pastries, so now we know what’s for breakfast tomorrow.)

We then grabbed groceries for dinner and our next few days of hiking. The friendly cashier wasn’t fazed by our thousands (upon thousands) of calories–it’s the norm for hikers around here.

When we finally got into our cabin, we unpacked our stuff, started drying everything wherever we could, and began a circuit on the shower. Afterwards we started draining beers, prepping dinner, and watching Game of Thrones.

Damn, this really is the life.

Main Photo: The festivities for Mayor Max’s 6th birthday in Idyllwild, CA on May 18.