Installment #7 - April 29, 1999 - Idyllwild. Still Idyllwild.
April 28 evening: The crowd has arrived! Will hit the trail yesterday morning and is on his way, and Aaron and Hal hit it this morning. Then this afternoon, it started to snow and we now have here in Idyllwild about an inch of snow.
Here now are Jonathan, Jason and Lara, Charlotte, Oz, Laura, Darrell, Rob Bedichek, Walt and Pat - the Happy Trail Couple, Yip, Donna, Mary Sear[?], George, and we saw Batch earlier in the day. All those people are here now, most of them staying at the same motel. There were ten people in my room tonight before we went out for supper. The motel is now overrun with us thru-hikers [I can picture this motel all lit up and with the "No Vacancy" sign out - and no cars in the parking lot!]. The owners are so besieged with us all trying to use the one phone that they put up a sign telling us to use a phone downtown.
I had a chance this afternoon to go to the Library and get on the web site. I only had a half an hour, and didn't have time to download all the images over the phone line. But I printed out all of the installments and have passed them around to a bunch of the other hikers. [Unnecessary compliments deleted.]
April 29 morning: I started out last night with a room of my own, and then I invited two other people in, so there were three of us. But I quickly learned that one of them was a tremendous snorer, so I ended up going over and staying in Rob Bedichek's room.
We've got about two inches of snow now in Idyllwild, with broken clouds. From where I'm standing I can see some blue sky, but I can also see fog at the tops of the pine trees. I can't see the mountains - the clouds are down pretty low. But it's been like that for a couple of days and it's likely to be that way for a few more. There's a group heading out today including Charlotte, who is a wilderness instructor - I think she's pretty competent! Also heading out are Jason and Lara, Jonathan (whom I hiked from the border with), Yip . . . and me! Hopefully, we're heading out within the next hour.
From here, we hike up to 9000 feet, followed by a rapid[?] descent to Interstate 10 at around 1000 feet [check out the elevation map to see what he means]. By then, we'll hopefully be away from clouds and snow - at least temporarily. The we start back up and face the problem again a little bit later. For now, if we can get up there, get through that 9000-foot area, and get down, we can keep going. I'm hoping that the six of us can stick together - I'm glad to be heading out with a group.
My blisters have been getting a little better - they've been soaked and rested, although every day here I've been out and around, limping all over town. ["TAXI !!!"] Last night, we all went out to a Chinese restaurant and we were heading down the street in the snow, going down a reasonably steep hill. I discovered that I could move faster by hopping, so I was hopping along on one foot. Finally, somebody came over and offered me a shoulder, so there we are hopping down the street together. [Don't worry, Allen, it's only another 2500 miles.]
Next report will be from Big Bear City!
Allen mailed the Chapter B map that I was missing to me from Idyllwild, so there should be a map for you to follow again by the next installment. Not that you needed a map for this installment.
Added from scans of Allen's slides on June 3:
Crucial Equipment test being performed during layover at Idyllwild