The First Milestone and First Zero Days
Day Five: Mile 50
Daylight hadn’t brought an end to the rain or wind so I ended up staying under my sleeping quilt for as long as possible. Eventually though Michael and I had to get moving. It was all worth it a few miles later though when we hit mile 50. The wind couldn’t keep the smiles away and pictures were taken. We continued on for what ended up being out longest day on trail so far.
We ate lunch at Sunrise Trailhead where more howling wind allowed us to blow-dry our tents. We filled up our water bottles from a horse trough (yum) and kept going, making camp a mere 14 miles from Scissors Crossing where we would hopefully hitch into Julian the next day. My ankle was still plenty sore and I began to realize that the lack of rest might lead to a worse injury. I decided that I probably would need to take a zero day or two once I reached Julian.
Day Six: Endless trail and free pie
We woke up early on day six, hoping to make it to Scissors crossing and Julian around lunchtime. Michael had a new water filter waiting for him in town so after a quick, no-cook breakfast, we headed up into the hills. The trail climbed for a few miles but eventually we began the long decent to Scissors crossing.
After coming down out of the hills, we could see the highway in the distance. This flat and open section of trail ended up being the most challenging as the mountains behind us grew further away but the road never seemed to get closer. After what seemed like an eternity of walking, I made the mistake of checking how far we had yet to go to Scissors Crossing and was shocked that it was still miles away.
We did eventually reach the road and were greeted by two gentlemen who were refilling the water cache under the highway overpass. We helped unload dozens of gallons of water from their truck and load up the troughs with the bottles. It felt really good to help them since they were doing such a wonderful service to us hikers. They gave us some helpful advice for getting a hitch and after twenty minutes, Michael and I were in a car speeding towards Julian. The couple that picked us up were a pair of wonderful trail angels who were camped nearby, specifically to shuttle hikers to town. The only thing they wanted in return for the ride was for us to sign their log book. I couldn’t have been luckier for my first hitch.
We arrived in town and were immediately greeted by many smiling locals. Julian really took “hiker friendly” to a whole new level. Our first stop was Mom’s Pie Shop where PCT hikers get to enjoy coffee and a free slice of pie. The Cider Mill had free cider and snack bags for PCT hikers as well. Finally we made out way to Julian Beer Co. where they had a beer for PCT hikers that we wanted to try.
Michael and I hung out with two other hikers, Bandit and Seashells, that we had been leap-frogging with for several days. It was kind of bittersweet for me because the night before, I had made the decision that I needed to get off trail for a few days. My ankle was still really bothering me and I knew that if I kept pushing it, I would end up with a worse injury that would take me off trail for much longer.
My mother arrived and got her first taste of being a trail angel when she bought us all beer and then drove Bandit, Seashells, and Michael back to the trail. Michael had been my hiking partner since day one so saying goodbye was hard, but catching up to him will be my goal when I return to the PCT.
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