The Real Desert – PCT days 5-7
Day 5 mile 45.8-56.2
The previous night was super tough due to the high winds and rain. No one really slept due to the noise and a bit of water got into our tent because we had a backpack pressed against the wall that funneled water in.
We have since changed where we keep the backpacks in the tent from near our feet to one side. There is so little rain and mosquitoes out here that many hikers sleep on the ground instead of in their tent. It’s called “cowboy” camping. Allie and I currently have no desire to try it because of the potential for snakes and insects to join the slumber party.
The hiking today was mostly downhill but it was cold: in the low 40s at the high point. It was super windy today and a bit misty. However, we saw some amazing mountains in the desert that looked straight of the movie Dune. They were really awesome.
Day 6 mile 56.2-71.6
Today was much better than yesterday! We slept 10 hours and got out of camp around 7:30am. It was much needed sleep.
We met the dog Ellie and hikers John and Alyisa. Ellie is a pameranian Yorkie mix who is attempting to hike the whole trail. Needless to say, Allie was super excited!
Both our feet are hurting and we really need to shower. Thankfully we will be spending the night in Julian tomorrow – it is much needed. Allie and I were both in good spirits for most of today but the day did drag on since we went further today.
Highlights of the day were seeing a cactus flower bloom and more amazing desert mountain views .
Day 7: 71.6-77.3
Our first NERO (Nearly Zero Miles) is today! We hiked 5.4 miles from our camp last night to Scissors Crossings and got a ride from Trail Angel Rangal who hiked the PCT in 2017.
Our campsite last night was breathtaking. We camped at the top of a huge valley and we could see for miles. The sunrise and sunset were absolutely incredible. The views in the first 77 miles were way better than I anticipated. Our camp was great and we slept really well – we have been sleeping well the past few days.
The hike to Scissors Crossings was all downhill and it was the first time I felt like I was in the type of desert I imagined all deserts to be like. Direct sun, sand, cactus, small shrubs and ants were prolific. I’ve really enjoyed hiking through such a different climate than what I am used to on the east coast.
At Julian, we first went to Two Foot Adventures – the local outfitter (a store that sells backpacking and hiking equipment). The guy there was super knowledgeable and he had a great selection of gear even though the store was the size of a large closet. Allie got some new shoes since her Hoka 5’s were creasing at the arch foam and her foot was pronating too much. This was causing some arch pain so it was definitely worth making a switch. She ended up choosing Altra Ulympus 4’s. I got some basic food and supplies and blister treatment stuff.
After that, we got some free pie at Mom’s Pie shop. This is a famous destination on the PCT – the owner hiked the PCT years ago and now gives a free slice of pie and a scoop of ice cream to all PCT thru hikers. I got Apple Crumb Caramel pie and cinnamon ice cream and Allie got pecan pie and cinnamon ice cream. We both loved it!
Our next stop was lunch and resupply (buying food for the next section of hiking). Allie got a great pizza from the Julian Beer Co and I got a delicious deli sandwich from Jack’s grocery and deli. We ate our food at the brewery and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon with Buck, Robin, Hedwig, John, Alissa and John/Alissa’s dog Ellie.
We stayed the night at the Oak Hill Inn’s RV that they have for PCT hikers. Mike and Laura were great hosts and it was a very nice stay. Hilariously, the water in the RV shut off in the afternoon when Mike and Laura’s children were cleaning their art supplies and turned off the wrong spigot! It was nice to have a bed and shower and there was beer and a pool. If only I carried a bathing suit. In all, we really enjoyed our rest in Julian
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