Campo to Julian
Spirits are high! We made it to the southern terminus!
Nick and I flew to San Diego the day before we started our hike to stay with trail angels Scout and Frodo. We were accompanied by about 18 other thru hikers which made it a really fun way to ease the nerves of starting this adventure. A few hours after we got to Scout and Frodos house, Scout taught all of us a line dance as an icebreaker and encouraged us to teach other hikers and do it up the trail. After dancing we were fed dinner and had the ever famous “after dinner talk” about the trail which I was looking forward to!
We woke up early at Scout and Frodos, had breakfast, and piled into various volunteer’s cars to head to the southern terminus. It was really great being at the terminus with so many people! We were able to take lots of photos and had a whole group to start with. We also started off the trail with our newly learned line dance then hiked away in a group of 6.
We hiked about 4 miles to our first water source, a stream we topped off at, and continued another 7 to a campsite at the top of a mountain. We got to camp with the people we started with and we’re able to catch a really beautiful sunset that night over the mountains.
It started out a little cold and rainy which made us worried at first. However, it turned out that it made hiking come easier that day! The rain let off an hour or two after we started hiking and the temperatures stayed cooler that day which helped. The heat in the desert is no joke! We hiked about 8 miles into Lake Morena and got our first town food on trail! I got a burger and fries for lunch, Nick got gyro fries, both were fantastic!
The night of day 2 we were greeted with trail magic courtesy of Elwood, Jimmy Jimmy Coco Puff, Chris, and Oskie! They had hotdogs, chips, fruit snacks, cookies, beer, and more. It was so much fun hanging out with them and all the other hikers enjoying the delicious food! Then, in the morning, they also gave us coffee and breakfast! What amazing people, thank you!
Day 3 was all up hill which was a challenge into Mount Laguna. We ended up camping near town and then hiked the last mile or so into town for breakfast. There were about 10 of us that all piled into the café when it opened. It was a cute log cabin themed café. Nick got eggs, toast, and breakfast potatoes and I got a breakfast sandwich on a croissant with fruit and tater tots (yum!). I have to admit the last few days felt pretty luxurious for being a hiker!
It’s amazing how much the landscapes have changed as we hike through changing elevations. When we started it was very much a desert landscape, but as we climbed into Mount Laguna we entered into a pine forest environment! On day 5, as we left Mount Laguna, we headed back down in elevation and into another, new desert environment. Today was full of firsts for us! We saw the Sonoran Desert and Salton sea; it looked as though we were seeing into a foreign landscape on another planet!
We also saw our first cactus blooms, regular snake and rattle snake, and I got my first nose bleed from the dry climate. The cactus blooms are beautiful; we’ve seen bright pink, deep pink, yellow, and green so far! Seeing the rattle snake was scary! We walked up on it without seeing it and it rattle and slithered away as quickly as it appeared. The nose bleed was annoying but went away fairly quickly. Funnily, I met a couple of hikers while having a wad of napkin sticking out of my nose though (haha).
We made it to Julian! We only had to hike about 6 miles into town this morning and as we came up to the road to attempt our first hitch, Dog Gone, another hiker who was hiking with us pulled up in his wife’s truck and offered us a lift to town! Easiest hitch ever! Julian was a cute small town. We immediately went to Mom’s for the free slice of pie and ice cream they give out to hikers. Nick got bumbleberry (strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry) with cinnamon ice cream and I got apple boisenberry crumble with vanilla ice cream. They were so good!
Next we went to the gear shop in town, 2 Foot Adventure, to make a couple of gear changes. I needed to tighten my trekking poles, pick up a pair of biking shorts, and change out my shoes. My feet have already started getting bigger! I switched from my semi older pair of size 9 Altra Lone Peaks to a new pair of size 10 Altra Olympus shoes! They’re way cushier that my previous pair and will hopefully help with the couple of blisters I have on my feet.
After the gear shop we resupplied at the grocery stores in town and then met up with all of the hikers at the local brewery/pizzeria. That night we got to stay at Becky’s house, a trail angel in Julian that is nice enough to host hikers and let them shower and do laundry at her place.
Everyone we have met along the way has been so sweet, interesting, and fun to hangout with. I’m so thankful to be experiencing this trail and the amazing people along it. Until next time!
What I learned while hiking this section:
Vagasil is a good cure for chafing (haha! Who would have thought?)
Weird food craving I had this stretch:
Deli sandwiches, specifically a turkey one.
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