Days 8 & 9: Miles 68.4 – 77.3 (Julian, CA)

It’s been a whole week on trail, can you believe it? I can’t! I am still very much stoked to be out here on the magnificent Pacific Crest Trail – despite the aches, pains, and weather annoyances.

Well… our trail family has grown to three. Michael, aka Bird has decided to join our team or two, making us a trio! In case you didn’t recall… I met Bird on the shuttle from Old Town, San Diego to Campo. We’ve continued to run into each other along the way and have enjoyed each other’s company. So for now… Bird is part of the family. Now for a team name…

Insert Team Name…

Miles 68.4 – 77.3

The temperature was not too bad last night. I gather it was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit with heavy gusts of winds throughout the night. I slept pretty well despite the heavy wind gusts that pushed my tent into my face as I slept. I suppose I could have changed my head direction, but I didn’t think about it until now…

Rachael, Bird, and I were back on trail by 7:30 a.m. We had high hopes of hiking to Scissors Crossing by noon. Our day consisted of mostly downhill travel with a couple short climbs… nothing too strenuous. We were locked-in and eager for town food!

The trail was quite windy this morning. The inversion layer was extremely low… causing clouds to be pushed down the mountain sides, giving an eerie smoke effect to the landscape around us. The miles came quick… I can only assume it’s because we all were very motivated to get into Julian.

Eerie Mountain Slopes Surrounded Us

We made excellent time today. The three of us hiked into Scissors Crossing together ahead of our goal time. It was 11:30 a.m. as we shuffled across the highway to our hitchhiking spot, high in spirit knowing we were within an hour of stuffing our faces with all the food.

My First Hitch

Bird was very helpful in teaching Rachael and me how to properly hitchhike. The three of us stood there, thumbs out as cars and trucks passed by our location. It’s kinda funny making eye contact, only for those knowing they weren’t going to stop, to quickly avert their attention away from us and back to the road.

It only took five minutes before an SUV pulled to the shoulder so that we could all crawl in. The driver was a very nice woman named Jolie from Shelter Valley. Jolie rolled her window down as I approached the driver side window. She had a child seat in the back seat, so two of us would have to squeeze in together. She recommended one of us “bigger guys” ride up front while the other squeezes into the back with Rachael.

I took the back, middle seat next to Rachael. Jolie drove us into town – approximately 12 miles. She was very helpful in pointing us toward all the local favorite eateries. Jolie dropped us off at the Julian Lodge, where we would end up being for the next two nights.

First Hitch

Julian (Day 1)

Rachael, Bird and I walked into the Julian Lodge where we were quickly met by the receptionist and the hotel’s resident cat. I’m mildly allergic to cats, so I was plenty pleased when the cat chose to love on Bird instead of me. It was too early to check-in, so we left our packs at the lodge so that we could get a bite to eat.

Based on multiple recommendations from the locals, we headed to the Julian Beer Company for food and drink.

We were welcomed into the Julian Beer Company by the smell of pizza and barbecue. In our typical fashion, Rachael and I ordered a little bit of everything… knowing it was going to be WAY too much food. Rachael makes a great foodie friend because she also appreciates wanting to try all the things!

The three of us scored a table where we anxiously awaited our food. We had also purchased a couple pitchers of cider, which seemed to disappear impressively quick. Our food arrived and not a minute too soon. With eyes wide and mouths watering… we tore into our lunch like rabid dogs.

Awesome food @ the Julian Beer Co.

After lunch, we rolled ourselves town the road in search of another cocktail. We found ourselves at the American Legion, where I felt in good company. This was the first time I have really immersed myself in the military veteran community since retiring almost four years ago. It felt nice.

American Legion, Julian CA

We had a couple beverages before deciding it was time to check into our hotel room. Back at the Julian Lodge, we quickly collected our room key and walked into our home away from home.

Despite having only hiked a few miles today, we were all exhausted. We had plans to get all our town chores done, but the comforts of the hotel sucked us in. The three of us decided it was a good idea to take a zero day. It would be my second zero, but it would be Bird and Rachael’s first… much needed break.

Now in the room… Bird offered to help Rachael with a pack shakedown. Rachael is a wonderful person, with many wonderful friends whom all want to help her along her journey. By help, I mean an assortment of gifts that she felt inclined to bring, disregarding the need to keep her pack light.

By the time Bird had pulled out nearly three pounds of unnecessary camping equipment, he had decided on the perfect trail name for Rachael. World… I introduce you to “Packrat!”

With the intent to stay an extra day, we ignored our chores and spent the evening relaxing… trading jokes and good stories until we would eventually fall asleep.

Julian (Day 2)

I think we all got at least eight hours of much needed rest. We rolled out of bed around 7:45 and walked down the street to the Julian Cafe for breakfast.

The Julian Cafe is an adorable mom-and-pop, home style cafe with enormous portions. All three of us ordered the PCT hiker special – a pile of home fries with bacon, sausage, two eggs, bell peppers, onions, and smothered with country style gravy. Topped with their in-house salsa… brilliant!

PCT Hiker Special

Bird had to address some work stuff, so Rachael and I set off to complete our town chores. We stopped at the post office to collect our resupply boxes, organized our food and equipment, and then returned to the post office to bounce some packages forward.

After we got all our post office affairs in order, Rachael and I stopped by the local outfitter – 2 Foot Adventures. This is a wonderful little PCT gear shop that has everything a hiker might need that they either forgot or need to replace. I bought a new pair of shorts and another pair of Injinji sock liners. Rachael collected a couple items she needed and we returned to the lodge to stash away our newly scored gear.

2 Foot Adventures, Julian


We will set off for the trail tomorrow morning. It was a nice, relaxing stay in Julian, but I can feel the trail calling me back. The next three days will be mostly uphill, with longer stretches without water. It’s 14 miles from Scissors Crossing to the next water source, so we will need to carry more water than have in the past. We’re expecting it to take us three days before we hit our next resupply at Ranchita Bodega. Stay tuned!

Cheers, Smiley

One step at a time.

Julian Cafe

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Comments 1

  • Jeff Greene : Mar 23rd

    Rooting for y’all! Didja miss the free apple pie in Julian?


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