First Time Zero-ing

Made it to the remarkable town of Idyllwild! It’s amazing here. Friendliest hiker town I have ever seen! I got together with a few other hikers on Sunday night and decided to hitch hike in from a restaurant a few miles back. That meant a 30 mile slack pack up some gnarly mountains yesterday. It turned out to be hell! We managed to find a great hotel and nice locals to drive us back to the trail head, but during the hike itself….we got rocked! Temps were in the mid 30s, sleet and wind were harassing us, the climb was challenging, and we were playing a fun game called, “Don’t stop moving or you may die of hypothermia.” It was scary. I booked it all day and was the first one back to our hotel. One of the hikers whose staying with us said he’d never seen a woman like me in all of his life. I ran for it. Still took 11 hours though. Last night, once everyone was in, we sat in a circle on the floor, passing around cheetos and ice cream, and told battle stories. It really felt like we went through something together. Alas, we made it. Sure earned this day of rest and pigging out!

Despite the N.D.E., which is likely a big exaggeration, this trail has been an incredible journey so far. We had 4 days of trail magic in a row, including an amazing BBQ at a house in the middle of nowhere. Papa Bear, a hiker with more years on him that most of us, was telling us that it was just like the 60s! He said the only word to describe it was, “Groovy.” We sat around laughing, eating heaps of food, napping in the shade, and dancing on the porch to some two step and swing numbers. Truly a touching experience. Less LSD than the 60s had though, I think.

The trail itself has been mostly friendly. I’ve been getting off easy so far with temperatures, and still no rattlers, or scary bugs. Plus, averaging 20 miles a day has been no problem. So that’s a great beginning. I just bumped up all of my mail drops by about 5 days. It feels good!

Thanks to Dumbledore’s Army for the letters! I sure do miss you guys. Thanks Momma, you’ve always been so supportive. Big thanks for Tinman for the awesome surprises that came in the gps package! His kindness and encouragement are overwhelming! And I got some great surprises in my resupply box from Eric. I miss him madly, but love to think about him all the time when I’m hiking. I find myself thinking happy Eric thoughts and flying up the trail in the morning. A few days ago, Papa Bear goes, “Woah there, Kiddo. There’s a speed limit on the trail, you know.” He’s great.

I’m bunked up with Rotisserie (My favorite solo hiking woman on the trail, from MN), Cookie Monster (A former A.T. thru-hiker who carries great music), Gangsta (A fellow from Israel, who I just named today), and Rub-A-Dub (Another former A.T. thru-hiker from D.C.) It’s a great bunch, but we split up tomorrow. As usual, I’m going a little too fast, and will probably lose most of the people I know so far. Sad, but there’ll be great new ones up ahead!

There are hikers everywhere in this town. We are all just thrilled to be here, and happy to be out of the cold rain. This morning, after I ordered some grub at a nice little cafe, I turned to the other hikers and said, “Holy Crap! I just asked for a bunch of things, the nice lady said no problem, and they’re going to be put in front of me in moments! How amazing it this!” Already I feel so much more gratitude and appreciation for all the little things in life. How lucky am I? Seriously!

2 thoughts on “First Time Zero-ing

  1. I’m glad I am the one making you go over the speed limit on the trail. Ha… I love you dearly Kiddo! Stay safe and healthy!

  2. Hi Shayla, Sounds like you are having quite a time..Good for you!!! Keep up the good work,Enjoy and stay safe…we all love ya…..

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