Day 16 (April 23): PCT Mile 179.4

First Zero Day

Elevation = 5,400 ish (Idyllwild)
Weather:  60 – 75°F, sunny

Yesterday, as the day progressed, I had increasing pain in my right achilles tendon area. I think it was due to the steep grade I’d been enduring the last two days. So I went to sleep last night not sure how today would go and whether I’d get back on the trail or take another day to rest up.

I actually slept in til 6:30am…woo hoo! Took my time getting going, but in my back-and-forth’s between the bathroom and the camp site, I bumped into John who I tented near a couple nights ago. He invited me to join for breakfast, so once I got ready, I met him and Scarecrow at the Red Kettle Restaurant. Good food, good convo. A younger guy from North Dakota, Kieth, joined midway through.

Afterwards, I trudged back up the hill to the state campground. My heal seemed to be healed! Or at least the rest overnight seemed to have calmed the pain down enough so I didn’t notice anymore. I decided to go through my day and if I got all tasks done at a decent time, I’d make for the trail.

First, I hung out my cloths in the sun because the laundromat dryer yesterday didn’t quite get things dry dry. Then I just laid in my tent for a bit, trying to let my body rest. This didn’t last long, but hey, it was worth a shot. Next up was to look ahead and plan/get my food for the next stretch. I ended up going to both of the markets in town (always walking, it’s not that big of a town) and had two plastic bags full of food. As I walked back to my tent I wondered how it was all going to fit inside my pack.

I think I did ok. It’s not great healthy food and it’s going to be stupidly heavy, but it should sustain me through to the next town. Once I got things sorted a bit, I hiked back to town and perused through a few shops on my way to Nomad Ventures, an outdoors store/outfitter. Here, I talked to a lady about the trail options and conditions around San Jacinto peak. I left feeling glad I’d stopped in, she was very familiar with the mountain and helped me think through what I wanted to do.

Next, I went across town to the public library. They were very welcoming and I enjoyed sitting in a comfy chair while I uploaded my posts on to here. I also ran into Snickers!  I thought I might because he had mentioned he was looking forward to using their computers when last I saw him. He’d gotten into town yesterday too, but later in the evening and had put in a long grueling day.

Once done librarying, we got a late lunch at La Casita Restaurant. Very tasty tacos. After lunch was when I decided not to try making it back to the trail today. It was already past three and I felt I would be rushing if I were to make it.

Afterwards, we split. He went to visit the outfitter and I visited the post office to ship some stuff to Michigan. Then, it was back to the campground for another shower and to do a bit of packing up. I saw this beautiful sculpture on my travels…

Throughout all this, I got the chance to call some folks and look a bit ahead at what’s coming up. I also was able to figure out a ride to the trailhead tomorrow morning, getting picked up at 8:00am with other hikers by a trail angel.

Additionally, I made three purchases today aside from food: 1st was a single pair of short cotton socks that I look forward to using for sleeping, 2nd is a Smart Water bottle that I got just for it’s snapping cap that folks have said threads onto my type of water filter, and 3rd was a small notebook and pen that I plan to use for journaling.

Around 6:30pm, I ventured back to town once again to see if I could find some folks to have dinner with. I ended up at the Idyllwild Brewpub with a group of hikers. I’d met one guy, Ireland (he has an accent, and although I didn’t ask, I assumed he’s Irish) about an hour before, and dad and I had tented near Socks and Matador on our first night on the trail. I met Jennifer and Kevin and Skyline (I might have misheard his trail name). It was a fun time and my first beer while on the trail (I went for Irish reds in honor of my new hiker friend)! That’s Ireland with his head down on his blow-up pillow…he was in a bit of a food coma after devouring his bacon cheeseburger 😉

Once back at the campground, there was another campfire going, but I felt like sleep was a better option. A nice relaxing day! I feel refreshed and ready to get back on the trail early tomorrow.

Bringing it back to my achilles, it still felt pain free at the end of the day. I am reminded of yet another hero of mine, Achilles of the Trojan War who once boasted to his fellow soldiers, “We are Lions!” That will be me tomorrow, a mountain lion pouncing up to the summit!

2 thoughts on “Day 16 (April 23): PCT Mile 179.4

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