May 1, 2022
0 PCT miles
I am oddly comfortable when I wake up. I stretch out and remember that I am in a bed in a hotel room instead of on my crinkly potato chip sleeping pad in my tent in the woods. 6:00 comes and goes, then 7. It’s close to 8 before people actually start moving—ridiculously late by hiker standards, but it’s a zero day, so it doesn’t matter!
After a good bit of faffing around, we make our way to the Red Kettle diner. DLT, who is from the midlands of England, is absurdly excited for the American diner experience, especially the bottomless coffee. Surprisingly, we get a seat as soon as we get there. We sit down and order coffee (my first real coffee since February! It makes me feel terrible). Then we order large breakfast combos. I amaze myself by eating two pancakes, two scrambled eggs, two sausage links, some of DLT’s French toast, and two pieces of sourdough with jam. 180 miles in and I already have hiker hunger? I feel disgusting and I love it.
After breakfast we resupply at the market, visit the local outfitter Nomad Ventures, then go back to the hotel and organize our food bags. Then it’s back to town for ice cream. DLT, true to his word, buys me a rainbow sherbet cone for winning our little packing up challenge the other day. It tastes like victory.
It’s so much fun to walk around town on a zero day. Everyone here is so friendly to hikers, and everywhere we go, we run into people we know. This feels so familiar; it was one of the things I loved most about the AT. I feel so light and free, with nothing holding me down, just ambling through town.
One of the things Idyllwild is known for is its mayor: a dog named Max. We’ve heard that Max makes an appearance every day at 4, so we wait in the town square. When he doesn’t show up, DLT calls his office and learns that he was already out and is now back home, but DLT arranges for us to see him early tomorrow morning before we leave.
We get drinks at the Lumber Mill after that, then dinner at the local pizza place. I’m still full from brunch, ice cream, and the beer, so I can only manage half of mine. I feel like a walking ball of grease, but at least I’m carbed up and ready to go for the climb to San Jacinto tomorrow!
After dinner we come back to the hotel and pack up our bags. We have exploded all over this hotel room, like a hikertrash bomb has gone off. It’s crazy how much and how quickly we can spread out.
I’m so glad we took this zero. It was a much needed change to recharge, refuel, and re-energize, and I had so much fun with my friends. But we are ready to go back to the PCT! It’s a big climb up San Jacinto tomorrow. Here’s hoping for good weather and minimal snow.