Days 6-9: Julian and our first zero

Day 6: Leaving Mount Laguna

It was a chilly night in Mount Laguna! It was the first time I needed to wear socks  to sleep. I woke up at 530am and started packing. Mary and Joey had already packed up and left camp. We saw Katie and Frank as we were packing up and chatted with them a little while before we left.

It was chilly at Mount Laguna

We had an ambitious 13 mile day planned. PCT thru-hikers are not permitted to camp within the Laguna Mountain Wilderness area, which stretches about 10 miles past Mount Laguna. 13 miles was the longest we had hiked so far on the trail.

We saw an amazing overlook and stopped to take some pictures and eat some snacks. We got back on the trail and went the wrong direction for 1.1 miles! I was so upset. My shoulders and feet were already hurting, and I had already taken Ibuprofen for the pain. We had just added 2.2 more miles on to our already ambitious day! I swallowed the reality and continued back on the trail.

It was a really pretty overlook

We found these cool super large pinecones!

Being cute

We finally made it to the campsite our 15 mile day. I was so exhausted. Katie was there and had saved a spot for us. We camped in a dry riverbed. People had left comments on the FarOut app about the campsite calling it caterpillar city a few days back, but it had recently changed from caterpillar city to caterpillar graveyard. Not ideal, but I preferred dead caterpillars to them crawling all over and into my backpack. It was extremely windy and was my least favorite site so far.

I woke up around 7 am after a poor night’s sleep. The wind was blowing all night and I had gotten up a few times to pee. My Achilles on my right foot was very tight, and I had a rash around my ankles. Katie let us know that she was aiming to get to the site about 13 miles ahead, and we told her that we might see her that night. About 2 miles into our hike for the day, I took some ibuprofen because my shoulders were hurting. We made a stop at a trailhead for water. The spigot was clearly meant for dogs. Nick and I stopped and took a break in the shade and ate some couscous.

Eating a couscous meal at the dog water stop

I really struggled to make it 13 miles that day. It was the first time I cried on the trail. When we got to the campsite, Nick rubbed my feet which was really nice.

The next day we hiked together with Katie to Scissors Crossing. It was nice talking with her and walking together. She had decided that the PCT wasn’t for her, and she was getting off the trail in Julian to instead hike the Camino in Portugal. We parted ways at Scissors Crossing – she hitchhiked to Julian while Nick and I hitchhiked the other direction to Stagecoach RV Park.

Almost to Scissors Crossing!

Stagecoach was idyllic. I felt like I was inside a western movie. When we pulled up to Stagecoach, a tumbleweed blew across the parking lot. We made a reservation for a small room and ordered some vegan flatbread pizzas. We decided to stay two nights and take our first zero day there. We took a hot shower, called some loved ones, and headed to bed.

Weird Dr. Pepper at Stagecoach

Our cute little cabin at Stagecoach.

The next morning we headed into Julian to get our package from the post office. They had a giant map of the PCT and we could see that we had moved off of the Mexican border, which was very exciting! We picked up a package of goodies that my mom had sent me, and we sent her back some gear that we no longer wanted to carry.

The post office had a huge map of the PCT. I’m pointing to Julian

We spent the afternoon in Julian. We went to a wonderful Mexican restaurant called Quecho. I got the Plato de Papas with veggies which was phenomenal. Later we perused the stores, got free candy and cider, and a free slice of pie and a drink! Julian was really a treat for us thru-hikers.

In the late afternoon we hitchhiked back to stagecoach. We were having trouble getting someone to pick us up. I told Nick to stand a little further away from me, but he felt that would be dishonest and didn’t really do it. Conveniently, we got picked up by this guy who was actually staying at stagecoach as well! He was nice and clearly wanted to hang out with us, but we had chores to do and had to turn him down. After we said our goodbyes we immediately collected our laundry. We got a load going and then hopped in the pool! The day had gone by so quickly and we hadn’t found the time to just sit and relax. After our laundry finished and we packed up our bags, it was basically dark. We watched a few minutes of a show on Netflix before we headed to bed.

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.

Comments 1

  • Misty : Sep 8th

    Hi Elaine! I know you haven’t posted in a while but I hope you’re still having a good time on the trail. Have the best day today!


What Do You Think?