Days 5 – 7: Miles 42.1 – 68.4 (Sunrise Highway)

Sometimes we must set aside our pride and do what’s best for our health and wellbeing. I woke up this morning and nearly stumbled as I crawled out of bed. I had aches in places I hadn’t known existed in my own body. I knew a zero day was necessary if I wanted to remain healthy.

I limped over to the general store to extend my stay another night and to see what items they sold that might be of use to me. The gentleman behind the counter had a few bags of epsom salts. Perfect! I paid for my second nights stay and my bag of epsom salts and made my way back to my room.

I used the same bucket I used to do my laundry to soak my poor feet and legs. The hot salt bath was exactly what I needed. After a good soak, my feet and legs were feeling way better. I debated if I should get back on the trail, but decided to stick with my initial plan.

Exactly what the doctor ordered.

After showing my feet a little appreciation, I walked across the street for a bite to eat at The Outpost. This was a really good restaurant/tavern with tasty BBQ and pizza. I had the pulled pork sandwich for lunch and a pizza for dinner. Both were awesome!

Special shout out to Arianne the bar tender at The Outpost and Kelley, a fellow veteran, both whom live in Julian. These two amazing humans were very hospitable and provided an afternoon full of great conversations.

A Tramily was Born

I have great news! Remember Rachael? Well she has decided to bounce forward after making her way into Lake Morena. She joined me mid-afternoon in Mount Laguna and will now be hiking along side me. I’m very happy. It does get lonely on trail so her company will be greatly appreciated.

Miles 42.1 – 54.7

Rachael and I set out at 9 a.m. Our goal for the day was to make it 10 miles before calling it a day. We walked to the edge of town where the PCT continued northward. The first couple of miles were still amongst the alpine, but soon returned to the desert chaparral I had been hiking in the first four days.

We stopped for lunch after four miles into our hike. Rachael and I sat on the rock steps that make up the viewing platform at Foster Point. While there, we met Ronan, a fellow PCT hiker France. If you ever find yourself on this section of the trail, this short detour is well worth the efforts. The view from this point is amazing. This was our first glimpse of the snow covered Mount San Jacinto.

Foster Point (Mile 46.5)
Rachael and Smiley

The weather was exceptional today. The high of the day was about 65 degrees Fahrenheit, sunny with little to no clouds, and a gentle breeze. The trail was relatively flat with little to no major accents or descents.

We made it to Pioneer Mail Picnic Area along the Sunrise Highway around 2:30 p.m. We were feeling tired after making it just over ten miles, but we had a lot of day left. Rachael and I enjoyed some afternoon snacks while discussing our next move. We want to make it to Julian with enough time to relax, so we decided it would be best to get a couple more miles in before calling it a day.

Water stop at Pioneer Mail Picnic Area (Mile 52.7)

We hiked another 2.2 miles out of the picnic area to our final resting stop for the evening. The air temperature was dropping fast and the wind was picking up. Rachael and I quickly set our tents up in a dry riverbed. It wasn’t an ideal spot, but it would have to do for the night.

Not all camp sites are ideal.

Miles 54.7 – 68.4

I get that the weather isn’t always going to be great, but wow… what a change today was from yesterday. Yesterday was the best hiking weather you could ever ask for. Today, it was super windy and it never did warm up until we had stopped for the day. Such is trail life!

The day started off much colder than I had anticipated. The temperature dropped significantly last night. Although still plenty comfortable inside my sleep system, the air temperature was quite chilly last night. I don’t usually sleep with my face covered, but last night I found myself burrowing my head into my sleeping bag for warmth.

Rachael and I got the trail by 8 a.m. Not a bad time, but as we get used to this new life style, I’d like to get an even earlier start.

We knew it would take us two more days to get into Julian, but we want as few miles that last day as possible so that we can spend more time in town. Rachael and I set off wanting to hike as many miles in as possible without sacrificing our health.

The wind was absolutely brutal today. Our attire was well suited for the conditions, but there is only so much wind noise one can put up with before it begins to drive them insane.

We had some extremely steep descents today, which for Rachael and I both, meant for some discomfort for our knees. At the 62 mile mark, we began a one-thousand foot descent in just over a mile and a quarter. The trail was steep enough at some points that it took everything in me to prevent gravity from forcing me to run down the hill.

We reached mile 68.4 around 3 p.m. That was 13.7 miles for the day. Most of those miles were downhill, which helped with time, but did a number on our joints. Our big decision was to call it day or continue to the next marked tent site which would be another 2.2 miles up trail. We opted to stay out next to the water source.

Our plan is to get up early tomorrow so we can hitch a ride into Julian around noon. We have about 8 miles left before we hit Scissors Crossing. Tomorrow… we dine on apple pie and get to sleep in a warm bed!

Thank You!

I am absolutely amazed at the positive responses we get from so many people we cross paths with as we continue our hike north. The weather on Sunday was phenomenal, which drove out dozens of day hikers. Rachael and I passed multiple groups of hikers that wanted to know about our journey. Everyone was so kind and genuinely hopeful for our future successes. This trail really does provide… and that includes positive vibes. Thank you to all the day hikers we met over the past two days. You lift our spirits time and time again.

Cheers, Smiley

One step at a time.

I love the rustic look of this old PCT sign.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?