Thursday, May 08, 2008

A great town on the Pacific Crest Trail. I threw a cook out for a mess of hikers here in 04.
Each spring, like daffodils and crocuses that cover the Hill for a short period of time, PCT thru-hikers, who begin their hike near the Mexico/California border and plan to hike the trail to its terminus in Canada, begin appearing in Idyllwild. Patch, also known as Todd Everleth, originally from Albany, N.Y. and now a resident of Las Vegas, exudes friendliness and confidence. He said, when introducing himself, “This is the first time I’ve used my real name in two weeks,” since beginning his hike. Inveterate long-distance trail hikers are known to each other by their trail monikers, never or rarely, by their given names. Everyone is anonymous and, in a sense, isolated from “real” or daily life.

“Thru-hiking is something particularly American,” said Patch. He said only one other town in his hiking experience provided the kind of warm and open hospitality that Idyllwild has given him and his compatriots: Damascus, Va., a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Appalachian Trail. Damascus is actually called “Trail Town, U.S.A.” because of its location across a confluence of trails and for its warm hospitality to hikers. It’s a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains traversed by the Appalachian, Virginia Creeper, Trans-America National Bicycle, Iron Mountain, Daniel Boone, Crooked Road Musical Heritage and the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail.

Damascus has made welcoming its hikers a high art. So to be compared with Damascus is high praise. Idyllwilders offered friendliness, rooms, recommendations, meals, information and, especially given the confusion and interruption the Apache Fire caused the hikers, offers of rides to the next open part of the trail.

A nice article about trail and town life for the long distance hiker.

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