Posted by: Ken Wheatley | April 15, 2007

Strawberry Creek – Idyllwild California

We just got back from a two day quick trip to Idyllwild, my first visit. Sheila camped there many years ago, but it’s probably been 20 years or more.

It’s a very woodsy place – lots of pine and oak trees – so the scented air and views were very relaxing. Just what the doctor ordered. We stayed at the Strawberry Creek Inn B&B owned by Ian and Rodney. It’s located on Hwy 243, just as you enter town.

The main house is beautiful. Sort of Victorian in style, but very homey. Lots and lots of books and games. For the guest rooms that have a DVD/TV, there are also many movies to choose from. Our room, which was located out back in another building, didn’t have a radio or tv, so we disconnected from the world for at least two days. Which was very nice. A little strange at first, but we adapted rather quickly. I didn’t even wear my watch!!!

There are plenty of places to eat, but the names that kept coming up were Cafe Aroma and Gastrognome. Cafe Aroma, located almost at the end of town on North Circle Drive served mostly Italian food. Sheila had chicken and spinach stuffed ravioli, and I had the flounder with mashed potatoes. The flounder was a bit thin and looked deep-fried, but surprisingly, once you peeled off the breaded coating, was pretty moist. Sheila’s dish tasted better (yes, we are habitual plate sharers).

We ate at Gastrognome the first night and I liked their food better. I had salmon and pasta with a light cream sauce (saying it was “light” somehow makes the calorie and artery-clogging count drop by half). Nonetheless, it was quite tasty. I did manage to show some self-restraint and only ate half the dish. It’s what I call my 50% diet.

Sheila had meat in a somewhat spicy sauce. She liked the meat, but wasn’t crazy about the sauce.

And as the name implies, there are nomes displayed throughout the restaurant. Cute touch…

On Saturday we drove to the ranger station on Upper Pine Crest, got a day hiking pass, paid for a $5 parking pass and headed to Humber Park which is down Fern Valley Road. After following an annoyingly irritating driver who couldn’t seem to go above 15 miles an hour – probably because his head was turned mostly left or right, so he therefore couldn’t see the curving road ahead of him – we finally made it to the trailhead for Devil’s Slide Trail.

The paperwork rated it a moderately difficult hike of 2.5 miles to the next trailhead. I guess they judge the level of difficulty by the number of cramps you encounter on the way up. I think I only pulled one groin muscle this time.

However, it was a very beautiful march to the top. Unlike some trails we’ve been on, we had a number of clear view spots to take in the vista. If I can figure out how to import a picture or two, I’ll show you.

We met lots of friendly people on the trail – mostly those headed down, not up.

About half way down we started to think – no, dwell – on where we would be heading for lunch and debating the merits of a burger versus pizza. Or both. We opted for pizza at the hip and cool (no, that’s not its name) Idyllwild Pizza Co. We got a 12 inch pepperoni, sausage and black olive that actually tasted pretty good. Sheila got a local beer and I got something that tasted like a hybrid between Coke and Squirt.

We woke to the sound of sleet hitting the skylight and looked out the window to see a light dusting of snow. A very nice way to end a very relaxing weekend.


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