A couple of years ago, I was at the little store on Hiway 243 in Pine Cove (where I live). It was cold and we had some snow.

As I waited my turn at the check-out, a young woman was asking for directions to the nearest campground. It was obvious she was a Pacific Crest Trail hiker, but I thought it odd that she was a bit late traveling through our area. She was given directions to Idyllwild and the state campground.

Highway 243 is not good for those walking, even in good weather.

She was obviously very tired and as she was about to leave I told her I lived nearby and she was welcome to come to my home, have a warm shower, eat with my wife and me, and stay the night. I was surprised when she accepted my offer. It isn’t every day a man brings home a young lady, but I knew my wife would understand and welcome her to our home.

Coral was from Alaska and had done 750 miles of the PCT. My wife and I found her very interesting and genuinely warm. She was told she could stay longer if she needed to rest, and she ended up spending three days with us, which we all enjoyed.

We got a text message from Coral on April 23 saying that a longtime friend of hers was doing the PCT and was, in fact, in Idyllwild at a motel, nursing blisters on his feet. She gave us his cell phone number, which I called, and told him, “If Coral says you are cool, you are cool.” We invited him to our home, and  Rowan Chevalier, also from Sitka, Alaska, accepted.

Rowan spent two nights in town and one with us. He told us he was amazed with how wonderful the people he met on the trail were, and especially how warm and friendly the people of Idyllwild were to him and the other PCT hikers. He thanked us for our hospitality and Saturday morning, April 23, I took Rowan and another hiker to Humber Park to continue their journey.

Wendy, my wife, said she was very pleased to know that Coral thought enough of us that she entrusted a lifelong friend with us. That means a lot to both of us.

Mark Mitchell
Pine Cove