April 19, 2017: Hike Miles 68.4 to 77.3 (8.9 total)
Woke up to a beautiful morning today with the mountains at our back and the valley awaiting us. We stayed in our tent for a few extra minutes than normal, knowing we had a short day today. We camped with a few other hikers and listened as they got ready and quoted their favorite Nacho Libre quotes.
We quickly made our way down the mountains onto the valley floor, getting excited as we saw traces of civilization in the distance. We also have been getting to enjoy the ending of the superbloom that has been happening in SoCal this year. I never knew the desert could be so colorful.
Everyone we passed seemed to be hurrying as quickly as possible across the valley in hopes of getting to town soon.
We ended up at a huge water cache under Highway 78 and learned that some guy from Julian who stocks the cache every day, also drives back and forth giving people rides to and from Julian. The wait was going to be about an hour, so we decided to try hitchhiking instead of waiting and were picked up within a couple minutes by a nice couple from Hunington Beach who were vacationing out here. They drove us to Julian, asked lots of questions about the PCT, and assured us they couldn’t smell us. It was a nice lie.
Our first stop was Carmen’s restaurant. She was closed to the public for the day due to the huge hiker flood, but open to PCTers. She greeted us with a big, a free beer, a discounted meal, laundry service, and an offer to sleep on her restaurant floor. There were many familiar faces there and many new ones. We scarfed down a beer, pulled pork burger, and curly fries in no time.
The sleeping situation seemed a little full for tonight and we really needed a good shower, so we decided to splurge on a hotel. We found a cute bed and breakfast right next door with a hiker discount and free breakfast and tea time!
We tiptoed around our room trying not to dirty anything until we got a shower. My whole body felt like a prune afterwards and it felt so weird to put on clothes that didn’t stink. Colton was all about napping, but I had to be the meanie head that enforced our to-do list.
We instantly realized when we got to the grocery store why hikers preship their resupply food. Prices were at least double what they were back home. Oh well, food is kinda a necessity out here. Instead of sulking after our expensive shopping trip, we ran over to Mom‘s where hikers get a free slice of pie, scoop of ice cream and a drink. It was amazing, but definitely overkill after our huge lunch. We both got sugar headaches after hardly eating any sugar the past five days.
We organized all our food in our hotel room and tried to plan out our next week. We also ordered some more stuff sacks that we will pick up in Idyllwild. We’ve been keeping our clothes and food in ziplocks and it’s getting really annoying trying to compress them and get all the air out every time we use them.
As we sat in our hotel, we thought about how weird it was being off the trail. It feels so normal to camp now, that we almost felt bad staying in a nice hotel. I’m sure that will all change tomorrow night.
We did laundry at Carmen’s, picked up a pizza, and ate in bed, trying to figure out how we could still be hungry after all we ate today. It’s a nice feeling to be able to eat non-stop, but could prove to be quite expensive (especially if you know how Colton eats). I’m almost looking forward to our cliff bars and dehydrated mashed potatoes tomorrow. Almost.