Dear Sweet Idyllwild

As I enter town, I see a large sign proclaiming ‘Welcome PCT Hikers’

I wonder if this is what it feels like to be a celebrity.  Walk into any store and tell them I’m a thru hiker and they give me  a discount.

People from the city stare with awe at all the hikers hobbling around town.

They watch with fascination as we sort through our resupply boxes and approach (as if to ask for an autograph).

‘Are you PCT hikers? We saw the boxes and have heard about these (crazy) people who mail themselves things and hike to Canada.’

‘Why yes, we are in fact hikers.’

They look again with awe at the things in our boxes. It doesn’t seem like much to me now. I vaguely remember packing each item and the utter importance it held: extra sunscreen, batteries, replacement supplies for my medical kit, hand sanitizer, spices, extra journals, and extra bits of food we didn’t need in our first ration (and that I don’t want to eat now).

Yet, each item is significant to my well-being.

They ask if we’ve really come from the border. ‘Why, yes we have!’. We’ve hiked a mere 152 miles to get to this sweet town and have thousands to go.

Eyes widen at the number. ‘You’re walking 2,650 miles!’

‘Or so, yeah.’ We say nonchalantly, but I can’t comprehend the number either.

Our fans go on their way, and we continue sorting through our things, trying to figure out if there’s anything that can be thrown out of our packs to make them weigh an ounce less.

A hot shower, more food in our packs, laundry done, and pizza (a treat bought courtesy of our Grandma) and we’re ready enough to walk some more.

But not quite done with Idyllwild.

Two and half days later, we’re back!  And the second time around is possibly even better than the first.  Blaze and I discover a bakery with a half price day old shelf.  We spend an entire day moving as slowly as possible through all of our chores (coffee house, hiker box, groceries, smoothies, post office, outfitter’s) We probably spend at least a couple hours at each location.

Finally, it is time to say goodbye to this lovely town where they treat homeless, dirty, hobbling hikers so well.

So we spend an entire morning eating our way out of town.

Literally.

We go about a block between each stop. I find cereal in the hiker box. A good breakfast at the Red Kettle. Sit at the Coffehouse some more. Make another trip to the bakery…. Finally, we can delay the next hike up the next mountain no more, and we wave our last goodbye to dear sweet Idyllwild.

 

About Natalie

Natalie Fisher is a dancer, teacher, silk aerialist, and choreographer. She is inspired by the wilderness. Her work involves finding the seam where her worlds of dance, aerials and the wilderness meet.

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