18 miles – Sunrise Trail Head to Scissors Crossing (Julian)
There is a little town called Julian 13 miles off the PCT from the Scissors Crossing junction. This town is known for its apples and apple pie, in particular one restaurant that gives FREE PIE to PCT hikers. I’m only 5 days in so funds aren’t dire just yet, plus I don’t like my chances of there being any vegan pie, but the words FREE PIE still excite and provide the motivation for the day.
Up and out at 7am, it’s a looong day winding around the mountain in sandy scrubby terrain. I’m again lucky the weather is relatively mild but still have to be mindful of water consumption as there aren’t copious water sources along the trail. There’s a great resource updated by hikers called the water report, so as hikers pass known water sources they email through to update how much water is available. There are some water caches maintained by local amazing trail angels to break up sections where there would otherwise be no water for 20-40 miles.
Today there are some rotten very steep descents and ascents. Definitely giving the knees a wake up.
I lunch at the Rondriguez Spur truck trail where there is a good water tap with Derek, David and a slack-packer Chicken Fat. CF hiked the AT last year and his patents are around California at the moment so they are taking his big pack while he hikes with a day pack and meets them at the end of the day (slack packing).
The sun gets hotter and the energy disappears. I don’t know when the wall appeared but at some point it starts to feel like an endless trudge. The trail is slowly winding down down into to desert that we have been peering down upon for the past few days. It drops is straight into it and we have a few mile march across until the underpass at scissors crossing.
This has been a great spot for a water cache and trail magic (trail angels leave eskies with treats or cold drinks, or in some places set up tents and hang out with chairs and a bbq or fresh fruit or all kinds of exciting things) but local beaurocrats have been shutting this particular one down so I’m not expecting anything.
BUT LOOK! There is water! And bananas!! My first trail magic of the PCT. Amaazing!!
Now comes the part I have been most scared of – hitching into town. I’m known as a ‘ride-bride’ because drivers are more likely to stop for a female than a male. Given that there is about a 10-1 male female ratio out here guys like to hang out with girls on hitching days!
It only takes us about 10 minutes and we get a ride with a lovely lady named Carol driving a lovely clean rental car. I hate to think what we smell like to her in her previously lovely new-car smell ride.
The scenery changes quickly and dramatically as we head up a different mountain to Julian. It is chilly and we are amongst beautiful trees and could be somewhere in New England with all the pretty wooden buildings and gorgeous retro signs.
YAY Julian and Pie!!! And yay hitching and not dying!!
Everything closes at 5 and I don’t arrive until nearly 6, so pie will have to wait 🙁 The Julian Hotel is my home for the night and the lovely manager does a load of washing for me while we (Derek and David) head to Romanos for pasta and pizza. There’s another table of hiker trash in the restaurant. None of us have hit hiker hunger yet, but a nice plate of spaghetti and glass of red will do just perfectly thankyou!
Then back to the hotel as it’s nearly hiker midnight (9pm). The yawning kicks in and all I can think about is my big queen fluffy bed. ZzzZZZZZzzzz