Zero in Idyllwild
I wake up early but spend a long time just lying in bed. What a luxury. I eventually wake up and walk to the coffee shop to get a soy chai latte. Another luxury! Then I head back to the Red Kettle to have brunch with Cate, Mike, Lynn, Raw Hide, and Colleen. Luxury upon luxury upon luxury! I feel very spoiled.
At brunch we see Caddy, Hobo, and Blossom. Caddy tells me I am always “so animated” and I accept the observation as a compliment. I first met Caddy and Hobo briefly in the little store in Mt. Laguna, when I was taking my very first zero to fix my blistered feet. Now that seems like forever ago. I don’t know them very well yet but I’d like to know them better – I think they seem so wonderful. They met on the Appalachian Trail and have hiked a lot together since then. They are both retired – Caddy was an elementary school teacher and Hobo had a career in the Navy – and they are so warm and hilarious. I feel safe around them.
We all discuss our plans for tomorrow. Bad weather is coming. We’re at higher elevation than we’ve been for the past few days and bad weather could mean snow. It could mean dangerous conditions. I want to leave tomorrow – I am still second guessing myself and feeling as though I should have left today, should be on the mountain right now with Lionheart and Apple Juice and all my smart friends who had the foresight to get going to try to beat the bad weather – but I feel worried about this storm. Will it be safe to hike? Will we be able to summit Mt. San Jacinto? Should we stay an extra day? Caddy and Hobo are wanting to leave tomorrow, and so are we. But we’re not sure if it’s a good idea. But we’re all really ready to be back on trail.
Ugh. Have I mentioned I hate the logistics part of thru-hiking?
I head back to the gear shop to buy rain pants and discuss potential plans. Cate joins me. The guys who were nonchalant and blasé about the weather yesterday seem to have changed their minds, and they advise us not to hike out tomorrow. It won’t be good conditions; we’ll probably get wet and we won’t have a chance to dry out for a while because the bad weather may stick around for a few days. Do we want hypothermia or trench foot? No, we do not. We definitely do not.
It looks like we’ll be staying in Idyllwild for a bonus zero. I’m less excited about that than I thought I would be; mostly I feel anxious and weird about taking so much time off the trail. We’ll never make it to Canada at this rate, my brain screams. Shut up, I try to tell it. We’re not thinking about Canada right now, we’re just trying to get past this mountain! Sheesh.
When we get back to the lodge we hang out in the big communal room for a long time. There’s a fire place and hot water for tea and I’m happy, even if our changing plans are giving me anxiety. I really hate the level of anxiety that has accompanied me on this hike so far; I am used to hiking alleviating my stress, not creating it. This is different than a day hike in Forest Park, though.
Our little crew – me, Cate, Mike, and Lynn – talks it over and we decide it will be smartest to stay an additional night. Caddy texts me to say that’s what she and Hobo are doing, too. Well. That’s that, then. Another zero in Idyllwild, coming right up. I feel really dumb for telling Alley not to visit this weekend – we could have spent three full days together! I feel down in general. I think I will feel better when I’m back on trail, but for now I just feel blue.
We stay up late chatting, now that we know we won’t have to wake up early to hike. Our conversation winds through many interesting topics and lands on queerness. I realize that straight people keep asking me for a definition for this word/identity/community, and I don’t have a very good one. Or, my brain can’t formulate the thoughts and words for a deep, meaningful definition during this thru-hike. So if any of my queer friends reading this would like to offer some definitions of what it means to be queer and why we’ve added the Q to LGBTQ, I’d love that! The people who have been asking me about queerness are doing so with positive intentions and I’ve felt happy talking about it – I am just dissatisfied with my own answers to the question. Thank you in advance!
Mike and Cate generously give away the extra food from their resupply boxes – they’ve been sending themselves too much so I often benefit, getting their leftover prepackaged meals and Clif bars, Stinger waffles and Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter. Between my leftover food from the last section, the small box I sent myself, the box my mom sent me, and Cate and Mike’s leftovers, I don’t even need to go to the store to resupply.
I spend the rest of the night trying to catch up on blog posts and feeling stressed about my blog. I don’t know how to write about the guys we met a few nights ago and so I’m not writing at all and I’m falling behind. This is too big a project to fall significantly behind on. I have to catch up!
But sleep is calling, and I’m exhausted even after doing nothing all day. I close my eyes, expecting to wake up to snow.