I saw my friend Maurie sitting in front of Gary’s Deli on Sunday. I hadn’t really seen Maurie since we did the Spitler Peak Trail last May.
So, I asked him what he had been up to and he replied that he was there with an 80-year-old Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) hiker. It turns out that Maurie is doing a trail angel gig and kind of escorting this south-bounder through our mountains.
The hiker was inside the deli getting food and drink. What else would a PCT hiker be doing?
I went inside and introduced myself. Maurie asked if I would like to hike with them through the Idyllwild area on Tuesday and Wednesday and I just might go along with the two of them. By the way, I think this 80-year-old is the oldest PCT hiker I have ever met or even heard about.
I have a new internet friend who lives in Gillette, Wyo. “Miss Wyoming,” as I like to call her, expressed a great deal of interest in the town of Idyllwild. She asked me many questions about what it is like here and I told to go on the Idyllwild Town Crier website. After seeing the Town Crier site she realized that Idyllwild was not one of those urban sprawl, cookie cutter, strip mall kind of towns that most people associate with Southern California.
I began to send Miss Wyoming some of my many photographs of the local scenery, including Lake Hemet, County Park, Tahquitz Rock and Peak, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, wildflowers, hummingbirds and encouraged her to look at the Idyllwild Town Crier videos on youtube.com.
Miss Wyoming asked if there were any campgrounds or hiking trails near my house and how long it would take to walk to town from there. Well, County Park is literally a block away, obviously there are tons of trails here and I can walk to town in 5 minutes, I told her. The bottom line on this story is that looking at Idyllwild through someone else’s eyes made me appreciate all it’s splendor even more than I already do. If Idyllwild were a sovereign country, I think I would make a good ambassador.
Another thing I am amazed about is the abundance of flora and a fauna I am seeing around Idyllwild. I am seeing wildflowers, cottontail rabbits, chipmunks, bugs and all manner of other plants and animals. With all the rain and thunder showers we have had this month, everything is still looking so green.
I don’t remember ever seeing so many California quail before and such large numbers per covey. I saw what may have been 20 quail crossing the road near my house. A couple of weeks ago, when I hiked the Deer Springs Trail, birds were everywhere. This makes me wonder if maybe there was a second breeding season because of the availability of food this late in the summer.