Mexico to Julian

Day One: Starting the Journey

Miles Hiked: 15.4

It is day one on the PCT. Off to a pretty nice start. My foot doesn’t hurt, which makes me feel pretty happy. I’ve been dealing with some plantar fasciitis leading up to this hike, which has had me feeling anxious. I was walking around at Scout and Frodo’s hostel this morning and I kind of tweaked my Achilles.

Scout and Frodo’s was very campy, but in a refreshing kind of way. I feel like it’s nice for a lot of people that do this because we’re all adults and we haven’t had like a good reminder of what it’s like to be a kid in a while, which is part of what hiking is about, so it’s really a nice jumping-off point. We got dropped off at the southern terminus at like 11:30 and didn’t start hiking until a little afternoon. We started in the heat of the day which kind of stunk after being in chilly Massachusetts. We sat down at a water source for a good hour around three or four and chilled there in the shade for a while and by then the sun had come down a little bit off of the water so things are pretty nice after that. I did piss off a rattlesnake, it rattled at me for a good like two or three minutes there. I accidentally just sprinted by it when it started rattling at me.Two other hikers were shortly behind me, so I waited up to let them know that it was right there and it rattled real loud at them too. So things are off to wicked wild start. Now every noise makes me super jumpy.

Day Two: Malt Shop Misadventure

Miles Hiked: 16.6

Day two of the PCT. I left camp around 7 o’clock or so, and the hiking was pretty easy up until the malt shop. The malt shop was delightful. The croissant sandwich and hash browns made me very pleased. Then, after that, I started having a bad time. It was really hot outside. I must’ve not been drinking enough water. I also think taking the hour off at the malt shop was a bad idea in the end because we wasted an hour of good cooler weather hiking.

In the afternoon, Zach and I hung out under a bridge for a little while. We filtered water and ate sour patch kids. We saw a snake that went through the stream to avoid us. After that the hiking was pretty mild, but it was hot. I hadn’t learned my lesson about hiking during the heat of the day yet.

The walking was all through cow fields, and I had to walk through a couple streams, but they weren’t that bad. You just have to get your shoes wet. Later in the day Zach and I took a break at kitchen Creek. He was laying under a tree on his rest and he looked to not be moving, and I got very scared that he might be dead. He was fine, just napping under a tree. It was a hot place to siesta, there was not a lot of shade. I manufactured some shade by holding my umbrella over my legs and keeping my torso right up against a rock.

After hiking for another hour or two, it was going to be a couple more miles until we got to another campsite. But I was exhausted, so we stopped at Fred Canyon tentsite and stream. We played card games with two other hikers there and chitchatted with the other folks lovely evening learned a lot about Australian film. I had to pee twice in the night and had an amazing view of the night sky both times.

Day Three: Laguna Campground

Miles Hiked: 15.5

Day three on the PCT. We started our day at the Fred Creek tent site, which is at mile 32. It was a 10/10. The babbling creek and sounds of frogs chirping was the perfect ambiance. I slept like a baby. The miles were quite easy. Most of the climbing was in the morning, but it wasn’t that bad. But really, any miles hiked before 9am don’t feel that bad.

We reached the Laguna recreation area. It had lots of trees and it was a cooler day with a nice breeze, which was so refreshing compared to the previous days. The miles are pretty easy once you got there plus all the elevation was kind of behind you so we got to the cut off point for the Laguna campground around like 1 o’clock in the afternoon, we had done 15.5 miles by then so we’d made great pace. We got to chill down at the campsite for a while, take a cold shower, rinse some of my clothes, and relax. chatted with other hikers kind of the same crew, we came with night before.

We played some more card games to pass the time. Miciah had some really nasty blisters that Sam helped patch up. I gave him my needle so he could pop him and hopefully it starts to feel better for him. I think his shoes are giving him a hard time too much Cushion for me at least.

One woman showed up and she was a little bit of a hot mess. She left her boiling water unattended and couple times and she was shocked in the morning when she had no more fuel. I sold her the rest of my gas can, because the rest of my foods were cold soakable anyways.

Day Four: More Rattlesnakes and water holes

Miles Hiked: 20.9

Day four on the PCT, we woke up early at the Laguna RV campground. Mostly because a woman camping there woke up at 5 AM and announced very loudly that she was going to be out of camp by 6 o’clock. It was later discovered she did not leave camp until 8 o’clock.

I got ready and left camp around 6 o’clock in the morning. Honestly, it felt pretty good hiking dead early in the morning; I really hoped it would help break up the heat. Zach, Sam, and I had kind of made the plan to hike 21 miles to this dirt road junction that had camping and a water source. During the morning walk I came across another rattlesnake, this one moved off trail nicely and let us by. We hiked pretty hard for the first 15.5 miles to get to a nice shady spot with a water source. Then, we took about a three-hour break there, which felt awesome. I sat in the shade; the heat of the day has been killing me, so it felt really good to get out of that for a little while. After our break, Micah and Emily caught back up to us, along with this guy named Ludacris. Micah, Zach, and I all hiked together to the campsite, which was only another 5 miles. We were kind of hiking in a line for a while; usually, I hike by myself, but it was pretty refreshing hiking with a troop of people in a line. It’s just nice to chat with folks and learn a lot about how Australians view American politics, which I thought was very interesting.

When we got to camp, Ludacris yelled at us in an angry way from far away. We were like, “What the fuck is he so mad about?” and it was just kind of confusing. He went and got water and then came back over, insisting we go with him to look at the kind of cactus that apparently hurts a lot. We were like, “Oh well, no shit, you know you’re not supposed to really be touching cactuses.” He was a strange guy.

The view from the campsite was really nice though. We walked up a short ways from where we were tenting, and you had a really beautiful view of the sunset behind the mountains. It was a really lovely campsite.

Day Five: Sprinting to Julian

Miles Hiked: 8.9

Today on the PCT, Zach, Micah, Sam, Emily, and I all camped at a water spigot about 9 miles from the road crossing to get into Julian. The walk was very pleasant, mostly downhill into a valley and then flat until we reached the road. Sam, Zach, and I arrived at the same time, and we walked down the roadway to the intersection, where we stood with our thumbs out for a little while. After about 15 minutes, a car drove by with our friend Sarah inside, along with a trail angel named Professor. He kindly brought us into town and dropped us off by the Gear store, which didn’t open for another 15 minutes. So, we decided to head over to Mom’s Pie Shop for a free slice of pie, ice cream, and a Coca-Cola. Myself and a bunch of other hikers sat there and relished in the food.

After our delicious break, I went to the Gear store to get more sunscreen and a gas canister. From there, I headed over to the grocery store and resupplied on some very, very expensive resupply options.

I had the chance to call my mom and my brother Thomas, and we got to chat for a little while. Thomas has Down Syndrome, and I’d been living with him and my parents for the last year and a half. I’d been worried that me leaving suddenly would be hard for him and that he may not understand where I was, or why I was gone. Thomas did seem to be in good spirits, which filled me with joy. Turns out he’s been staying busy.My dear friends back home, Ryan and Meg, had taken him out for a frisbee golf round the day before, which was practically made me cry. I feel so lucky to have friends back home looking out for my little brother.

Later in the day, we went to the Miners Diner and enjoyed a good veggie burger and some fries. Then, we caught a hitch over to the Stagecoach RV Park and stayed in a little bunk there, where we did laundry and showered. It was pretty much the perfect day in town, filled with good food, relaxation, and catching up with loved ones.

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