Backtrack to May 5th. Awaking in Barrel Spring, we knew that Warner Springs, our first maildrop site, was reachable by lunchtime. Off we went with soda on ice in my mind. When we arrived, we went straight to the post office to pick up our resupply box, a package from Sean containing much needed water purification drops (which I forgot in Boston), and a couple unexpected letters, a huge surprise! With a 44 oz Dr Pepper in hand, we sorted through our stuff, made some phone calls, and then made our way to the golf course restaurant next door, where we stuffed ourselves with hamburgers, grilled cheeses, salads, and Mexican beer (in honor of Cinco de Mayo of course). Our server mentioned free showers in the clubhouse, which we promptly accepted, and then after a quick visit to the mini-mart, we were off to continue the 5/5 celebration with our section-hiker friends Yancy and Tarc a few miles up the trail next to a babbling brook.
The next couple days were hot hot hot. My watch read over 100 at one point, and drinking the water out of our Nalgenes was like drinking hot tea without the flavor. Awful. On May 7th, to avoid over-heating, we took a 2 1/2 hour lunch break under a live oak, along with most if not all of the thru-hiker friends we've met this past 11 days. We were sprawled out like lions in the Kalahari, moving to stay with our little spots of shade. That evening we hiked into the night, under a very-near full moon, into a wash where it was sandy and cool.
Friday morning the 8th, we were on a mission. The next road crossing was 3 1/2 miles away, and down that road 1 mile was the Paradise Cafe. We got there by 8:15 am, and ate huge breakfasts, washing it down with gallons of coke (me) and coffee (Em). This put us behind a bit, so we tried to make up time by pushing through lunch and to a spring for water 11 miles away. After taking a side trail 1 mile down a few hundred feet and filling up our bottles, on our way back up we spotted a helicopter overhead. It stopped above us, but moved on after I gave it a one-handed wave, meaning we're OK. Turns out there was a lost hiker, that made his way out on his own a day after making the distress call. We pushed on another mile, and found a great spot on a ridge, with the full moon glowing above us, and the twinkling lights of Palm Springs in the valley below. This got us excited for civilization.
The next morning, to get to Idyllwild we still had 15 miles of trail to walk, plus 2 1/2 down a side trail. Tough tough day. Lots and lots of climbing, up over 8,000 feet for the first time, and we even saw snow on the ground, which we used to turn our warm water into ice water! We rolled into town around 6, and here we are still. Back on the Trail early tomorrow morning. Next stop Big Bear City.
-Sundog (and Beetle)
P.S. My trail name comes from my days on the AT (Appalachian Trail) back in 2003.