Day 16: The Woods Are Lovely

Today has been one of our favorites of all. We took a late start, even stopping for some incredible espresso and breakfast sammies from the cutest cafe in Idyllwild (Idyllwild Bake and Brew, in case you are going!). We kissed the town goodbye and hit the road, climbing up and up until we were nestled right along the mountaintops.

The climb was full of beautiful granite boulders and the clean smell of pine. That glorious woodsy feeling swept over us, reminding us where our favorite place in the entire world is — high in the sky, wind sculpted rocks all around. 

 As we climbed Devil’s Slide we “how’d you do’d” many a day and overnight hiker, lots and lots of them. Idyllwild is a magical town of hikers, climbers, and mountain bikers it seems. They have hippies too — and three acupuncturists in town. We already started dreaming of a cabin in its woods.

At the top we stopped on what a ranger told us happily was, “a famous snacking rock.” It was just like a couch, with Ant’s Therm-a-rest all sprawled out. We ate my avocado, egg, spinach, and butter sandwich and a blueberry scone. 

 Our favorite new friend, Rainbow Dash, yelled with glee when she saw us: “I recognize those jackets!”

We hiked in a line for the next few miles, telling each other all sorts of little details about our pasts, the kind that only come out so quickly on a trip of this sort.

Then, before parting ways (she took off up a bonus summit and we continued on), we sat down and ate lunch. Bear Creek clam chowder (just add clams, I read before trying it) and chicken soup. Both were for families, and needed eight cups of water to make eight servings. We boiled about a cup and a half and then I poured and poured and poured in the mix.

I got clamless clam glue. I kept adding water, hoping something would happen. The only thing that happened was a muscled my way through and gave myself an excellent belly ache. Ant, following my lead but with the chicken soup, got a toxic dose of sodium.

We spent the rest of the day moaning up the trail. But the trees and the shade and the beautifully chilly weather set our hearts skipping. We have been looking out for fairies, and decided that the trio of bees that each spent whole minutes buzzing from one of us to the other were them for today! 

 But the day was bittersweet — we found we had gone much less distance than we expected (and had thought we went) late in the day, and that I had calculated us with ten less miles over today and tomorrow than was actually the case, and we have the truth of Ant’s departure to rest sitting heavy on our shoulders. This trip will not be the same for the next week, no matter how pretty the scenery.