Miles Hiked: 16.6
Total Mileage: 80.4
When I woke up at 5am I could barely move. I had a really hard time waking up for some reason but by 5:30 I had my stove on to make some Hot Chocolate. It wasn’t cold at all but it was a nice morning treat. By 6:15am we were all packed up and on the trail. This morning was noticeably warmer than the other days and it turned out to be our first really hot day on trail. Luckily we wake up early and hike fairly fast so we were able to hike 12 miles to town by 12:30.
The hiking today was almost all downhill. We dropped significant elevation between Mt. Laguna at 6,000 feet to Scissors Crossing at 2,500 feet. I definitely think the elevation change contributed to the warmer temperatures. We only passed one water source today around mile five. It was some sort of tank that seemed to be running dry according to comments on Guthook. Luckily I didn’t need to fill up anything, as I stocked up last night before our last push to camp. The desert landscape changed drastically today. It became less green and more sandy. I started to notice prickly pear cactuses blooming for the first time. The trail wrapped around the mountains and you could see it curving left and right about 0.5 miles ahead at a time. It was fun for Luke and I to hike apart and see each other hiking around a mountain from a distance. The trail itself was pretty narrow. I have no idea how a horse could travel on it. The PCT is supposedly graded for horses and people do thru rides. That’s why it’s so easy to climb mountains on this trail vs the Appalachians or other hiking only trails.
When we got closer to the road it was so hot I was stopping in the shade every two miles. Within five minutes of standing with my thumb out, Luke and I were in the back of a pick up truck on our way into the town of Julian to escape the afternoon heat. In Julian, Luke and I ate some heavy pasta dishes at an Italian restaurant before heading to the brewery for a drink. We just needed to kill time and enjoy some town food. It’s crazy how often we have been in town! At the brewery we talked to some other hikers. They started the day before me and thought it was crazy that we were hiking out. Honestly my body felt great today and I had no reason to stay in town and spend money. I haven’t really had any cravings yet. The last thing we did before leaving town was stop into Mom’s Pie shop. They give PCT hikers a free slice of pie and ice cream. I had strawberry rhubarb with vanilla.
Around 4:45 we walked to the road to hitch back to the trail. Again, we were picked up within five minutes by a nice local. The temperature was drastically different at 5pm. I was carrying four liters of water because our next source is at a maintained cache in about 15 more miles. The hike out of town was all uphill but it was so beautiful and graded so well I hardly noticed I was climbing. I was having way too much fun. I swear I always have a smile on my face when hiking. After Scissors Crossing I started to see some large barrel cactuses and some very tall blooming ocatillo cactuses blowing in the wind. I stopped a mile earlier than planned at a perfect campsite. It was just big enough for one tent and it was tucked into a very small canyon at mile 80. I could have kept hiking but it seemed like a good time to stop. Luke and I had fun hanging out together at camp. We both can’t get over how beautiful and enjoyable this trail is. Not a single thing has felt super challenging so far. I was a little worried about my feet on day 2 and 3 but today felt great!