Idyllwild and Getting off of the Trail

Onward to Idyllwild!

Many of our trail friends hitchhiked to Idyllwild from Paradise Valley Cafe, but we decided to keep on and get off the trail on a road ahead. We were planning to meet up with my friend Ari in a few days and were trying to time out our hiking with her visit. She was in Southern California for work, and she took one day off to visit us on the trail. We saw a road about 20 miles up the trail from Paradise Valley Cafe and told her we would meet her there. In retrospect, I would’ve just hitchhiked to Idyllwild from Paradise Valley Cafe (more on this later).

The morning started out a bit rough. We had planned to wake up at 4 am, but we both ended up waking up earlier. Nick heard an animal snorting and digging near his head in the middle of the night. I had no idea what was going on, but he kept me up by making a bunch of noise and moving. He eventually told me about the animal in the morning. We packed up and got going, tired and cranky.

We reached Cedar Creek, and I was desperate for a break. We sat for a few minutes, and Nick asked if I was getting bit by horseflies. I wasn’t, but they were swarming and biting him. It was pretty awful for him.

The trail to Cedar Creek was about a mile downhill. Nick took off down the trail, desperate to escape the flies. I reluctantly followed, not wanting to end my break. We got down to the creek, and there were even more flies than before! We set up the tent for Nick to escape the flies while I filtered water. With Nick gone as a target, the flies targeted me. I eventually joined Nick in the tent and we discussed our plans.

Nick in fly jail

Deciding to get off trail

We had previously discussed getting off the trail and taking a zero or double zero at my parents’ house. We decided that now was the time to do it, for the following reasons:

  1. Take one big break instead of two small ones. We were already planning to take a break at my parents’ house soon, so might as well combine it with Ari’s visit.
  2. We thought we needed microspikes for the next section. We didn’t realize that Jacinto still had snow and didn’t have our microspikes with us.
  3. There was rain the forecast for the next day.
  4. Time to write blog posts!
  5. Nick wasn’t feeling well and we wanted to go to urgent care.

The reception down by the creek was spotty, so I climbed up the trail a bit and called my mom to ask her to pick us from Idyllwild. She agreed and I told her I would call her from Idyllwild the next day.

We had initially planned to camp at Cedar Creek, but we couldn’t stand the flies and knew we had a big climb ahead, so we decided to push on a few miles. We ended up camping near the top of mountain with a beautiful view.

Sunrise at our campsite right before Idyllwild

Meeting Ari and Idyllwild

We woke up early to be able to meet Ari in time. We were meeting her at noon on a dirt road a few miles up the trail. We arrived to the dirt road 3 hours early. The dirt road was completely washed out and barely suitable for a car with 4 wheel drive. I started panicking – how was Ari going to get to us? Nick stayed calm and said that we should walk down the road toward the highway. We walked about 5 miles down this road until we got to a suitable place for Ari to pick us up. Luckily this timed out well and we only waited about 20 minutes for her to arrive.

My friend Ari driving us around

It was really great to see a friend from home! Ari rented a car after her work conference and picked us up from the trail. We decided to go Idyllwild. Ari was really excited to see the landscape around the area.

Idyllwild was a quaint town with a mountain, western vibe. We got lunch at Mama’s Egg House. Nick got a massive vegan burrito and I got vegan chilaquiles. It was nice to have a good meal after being out on trail. We caught up for a bit and then walked around town.

We walked into a tourist shop near the center of town. Ari chatted to the shop owners about wildfires in the area and what it was like to live there. Nick saw some golden retriever magnets and remembered that this was the town with the dog mayor. The shop worker told us that Mayor Max would be arriving in town for visiting in just about 15 minutes. We were super excited and left the store to meet the celebrities.

When we stepped outside, we ran into our friends Mary and Joey! We caught up with them and their plans for the trail ahead. Mary was having some issues going downhill, so they planned to skip next section of the trail.

Mary and Joey in Idyllwild

Meeting Mayor Max and Vice Mayor Meadow!

We walked around town a little longer before heading out to meet my dad. Ari drove us to a parking lot in Starbucks where we met my dad, and then Nick and I were on our way back to my parents’ house.

We were productive at my parents’ house. We went to the doctor, REI, Trader Joe’s, and of course, delicious restaurants. I also wrote out our upcoming plans for the trail.

Yummy vegan Mexican food

Our tentative plan for getting back on the trail

My parents dropped us off in the morning. The path that we chose to take to get back on the trail was SO STEEP. We packed out a ton of water too, since we didn’t plan to reach a water source before camping. We were absolutely beat when we made it to the top. Hitchhiking from Paradise Valley Cafe would have been so much easier. I absolutely do not recommend any other path to get to Idyllwild.

Getting back on the trail from Idyllwild was steep and overgrown

Tired after the climb and staring at ants

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Comments 2

  • Ben Robinson : Oct 25th

    The mayor and vice mayor look so cute! Appreciate you sharing these even after getting off trail. Sounds like a tough but rewarding experience overall!

    – Ben.

    • Jukebox : Nov 4th

      Glad you are enjoying following along, Ben!


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