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Zero Miles...Idyllwild, CA
At 4 in the morning - I was lying awake in my tent on the porch of Paradise Valley Cafe - shivering, feeling like I didn’t want to hike today... but I had promised Scout we would attempt the mountains... I got up to get in the shelter of the bathroom to warm up a few minutes - saw the snow weighing down my tent and oscillating on faking an injury to get out of hiking and telling Scout the truth... I heard his rain fly unzip - he came to the bathroom and we looked at each other and at the same time said - let’s take a zero! It was a huggable moment.
We went back to our tents and tried to sleep - but wound up shivering until the cafe opened up and served us coffee and another amazing breakfast. We texted Andrea and her sister, who were already zeroing in Idyllwyld to see if we could get a ride.
Then we heard from Spirit and our decision to bail for the day was confirmed. Spirit who had gone ahead the morning before and got stuck in the storm had lost a trekking pole, dodged ice bullets falling from the trees in the wind, water filters had frozen, couldn’t set up his tent he finally collapsed at some point after 28 miles trying to find a way off the mountain - rolled his tent around him curled up like a burrito under a rock - when we picked him up on the side of the road that morning - our zen warrior for the first time looked beaten and battered... yep a day off was in order.
I also met a new hiker, Rainbow (pictured above with the crazy white hair), from Nashville, who talks just like Matthew McConaughey... I am pretty sure the makes him my new friend :)
And what a day off it was... Idyllwild is a great mountain town... the Silver Pines Lodge that we stayed in even gave us loaner clothes and did our laundry in a real washing machine (no bucket washing here!!)... the shower was glorious and Scout (being a hairdresser) even gave me a blowout with my tiny one inch hairbrush.... we all gathered for dinner and wine and live music (something I haven’t had since Covid).... and made the plan to hike out at 5am the next morning.
And I finally got a trail name.... half asleep in the cabin room - I was awoken by Spirit and Scout around 10pm... they had been enjoying a bottle of wine in the lodge... they announced I was to be called Clutch from here on out because I keep all the gears of our group moving and because I try and take care of everyone in our group no matter how far ahead or behind they are. I accepted it since it is like the fourth one I had been offered.... and I like how short it is ;)