Day 4: Escape From the Weather

Mile reached: 77.1 (+22.2)

High: Receiving so much generosity from trail angels and locals

Low: Battling tiny blisters on two toes

Days since my cheese was last refrigerated: 5

People who admired my short running shorts 😉 : 2

It’s amusing how simple things become the focus of so much conversation. I guess it just reflects how simple the concerns of the trail are. For much of the morning everyone was asking: “Where did you sleep?”, “Were you able to get out of the wind?”, “Will you make it to Julian before it rains?” Asking about the weather was serious conversation and not just smalltalk.

The previous night was a close call for me. I had opted to pick up my tent in Julian and lighten my pack for a few days. It came dangerously close to raining, and I was lightly wet when I woke in the morning. I did however manage to get completely out of the wind unlike most everyone else. JD woke early and was ready to go and get off the trail. Despite this we were still some of the last people to leave camp.

So, we set off back into the wind, but were treated to gorgeous views as the sun was rising over the desert. We quickly reached a junction that led to the sunrise trailhead and the last reliable water for 17 miles. When I filled up on water, we discovered a marked trail that would take JD to his pickup location. So, he hid behind a water tank out of the wind and we said goodbye. I would now need to knock out 17 more miles to get picked up later in the day and head to Julian to recuperate.

Now unleashed, I trail ran much of the easy downhill trail to the desert floor and quickly caught many of the hikes I had been playing leapfrog with for the past few days. I plopped down for lunch under a small tree, and shortly eight others joined me. We even drew a line of demarcation in the sand beyond which the nearby fire ants were not allowed to cross. They were good neighbors and respected this until straggler showed up and inadvertantly sat down on their nest.

All of the prickly pear were in bloom with the most vibrantly pink flowers
The long decent down to the base of Granite Peak

The last few miles were a breeze, and the weather thankfully sheltered us from sun. Right as I showed up at Scissors Crossing, I heard someone shout “We’ve got one!”. “Oak” and “Cypress”, an older couple that thru-hiked in 2015 looking to reconnect with the trail, quickly handed me cheeseburgers and tangelos. (Their names are sort of cute. Oaks and Cypresses won’t grow in each other’s shade, so it reminds them to not bag each other.)

The PCT truly enters the desert for the first time around Scissors Crossing

JD and Tom shortly showed up and gave me a ride to Julian, where we’d spend the night.

Carmen, an incredibly warm person, loves to take care of hiker trash. In exchange for a hug we each got a child beer.
The seasoning seemed appropriate, Trail Dust!

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