We’re taking a “zero” (a day when you do no hiking whatsoever) in Idyllwild while we wait out a storm. I’m sitting at a laundromat wearing pink fleece pajamas with snowmen and my rain jacket as everything I have is in the machine. This morning was our eleventh morning hiking!

First Impressions

It’s Hot!

I did not know what to expect in the desert, but if you can imagine, it’s hot and there’s not a lot of water.  If it wasn’t for or water caches maintained my generous trail angels and sporadic horse troughs, we probably couldn’t do this hike.


Trail Angels and Trail Magic

There are SO many people in these trail towns who want to help us out which has been inspiring and heart-warming, especially thinking about the hundreds of hikers who have already come before us. Trail angels are people who support us in any way, such as leaving us hundreds of gallons of water in a water cache in the middle of the desert or shuttling hikers back and forth between a campsite and a post office all day long.

Trail Magic is when Trail Angels cook us food or give us beer or soda at an unexpected place. So far I’ve gotten beer, hard boiled eggs, ginger ale, Fritos, bananas, clementines, snickers, veggie burgers, pasta, Gatorade, cookies, pancakes, vegetables, and breakfast burritos.  It’s only my eleventh day!

Hiking Family

Our hiking family is a group who we generally have the same pace with and try to meet up with to camp every night.  There was only one night where Abby and I camped by ourselves. We’re getting to know more and more people as we either catch up to new groups or, in rarer cases, get caught up to….

Roses, Buds, and Thorns

Each evening we play a game called “Roses, Buds, and Thorns” where we go around and say the best part of our day, the worst part of our day, and what we’re looking forward to. This usually occurs whiles it’s dark and we’re sitting in a circle cooking or eating dinner out of our campstoves. I’m going to share what I remember and the general theme:


  • The incredible vistas
  • Sections of our hikes each day where we are alone or together and quickly cranking out the miles
  • A milkshake
  • Bunny rabbits
  • New friends
  • Evening hiking


  • Overwhelmingly, we are always looking forward to what the next day will bring. Being from New England and not having ever hiked in Southern California, I am surprised and in awe as I round each corner. The views have been incredible.
  • The friends which we have yet to make!


  • Blisters
  • Foot pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • The midday heat
  • And, just today, I smashed the screen on my phone, which is what I’m using to write this post.


So my phone screen is smashed which makes this part difficult. Most of these photos will be sideways or upside down. I can’t fix it right now. Bear with me.

img_6409 img_6412 img_6414 img_6421 img_6426 img_6432 img_6433 img_6466 img_6469 img_6475 img_6503 img_6522 img_6536 img_6558 img_6571 img_6582 img_6602


Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 2

  • Bruce H : May 7th

    Wonderful musings/writing & photos. Be safe in the snow & mountains!

  • Vince Piquet : May 8th

    Awsome clarity on your pictures. What kind of camera do you use? Thanks.


What Do You Think?