PCT Day 6: Heaps of Flowers and Julian Again

April 24, 2022

Mile 68.3 to mile 80.4

12.1 miles

I wonder how long it will be on this trail until I sleep through the night? I had another subpar night of sleep, but I still feel much more rested and pleasant today. I think I’m packing up quickly until I realize that Andy and Petra are already ready to go. What is with me? Why am I like this? The mysteries. I am always the last to be ready, no matter what I do.

It’s hot this morning. We stop for water not far after our campsite and I’m already sweating, taking off my rain pants and fleece. The trail is mostly downhill to Scissors Crossing, making its way from scrub brush to lower and lower desert environments. Soon there are prickly pear and cholla cacti everywhere, many of them blooming. Naturally, Petra and I stop at most of them for photos while Andy semi-patiently waits.

The trail is mostly smooth sailing, curving around canyons and out again into the sun. We descend lower and lower until we are on the floor of the desert valley in the full force of daylight. It’s umbrella time. It helps, but then the wind picks up, making it annoying to hold. I haven’t used it much yet, but looking at the forecast, I don’t think I’ll be sending it home yet. It’s going to be scorching hot the next few days.

We finally make it to the underpass at Scissors Crossing, where we get water from the cache and then get a ride into Julian for the second time with the trail angel Rangel. We pick up a few quick things at 2 Foot again, then Andy and I both call our respective mothers for the first time since starting the trail (Shout out to the moms! Thanks for reading and following along!)

Petra at Scissors Crossing

We get our $5 sandwiches at the deli, then make a second trip to Mom’s Pies, each of us going for a different pie. Petra leaves for a bit to hang out with the other Czech hikers and take a shower in their hotel room. Andy and I sit for a while longer at Mom’s charging our electronics, updating social media, and talking with other hikers.

I pick up a few more things for resupply, then we join a couple of folks for beers at the Julian Beer House. I have one sour and obviously become drunk as a result. Eternal cheap date. Then we meet Petra back at 2 Foot and get a ride back to Scissors Crossing. Thanks for everything, Julian!

We decide to hike a few more miles in the cooler light of evening. The trail is uphill, but the switchbacks are so beautifully made that I hardly notice the climb.

It is all lovely and glowing. It is distinctly more desert-y now. There are ocotillos, barrel cacti, and multiple types of prickly pear. The desert is so cool. I can’t believe I occupy a world where ocotillos and aloe also exist. They are so otherworldly.

Ocotillo!

Camp is a small, cozy spot in a dry wash. Petra and I set up our tents together and Andy is a little ways over behind some bushes. I make and then choke down an extremely spicy ramen that was not as good as I remembered. Meanwhile, Andy tinkers with night photography on his phone and Petra ponders keeping her rain fly off so that she can see the sky. We talk for a while as the evening fades into night and then, eventually, we burrow into our tents.

Amazing shot of me in my tent by Petra!

The goal for tomorrow is to do our first 10 by 10, which means hiking 10 miles before 10 in the morning. It’s supposed to be extremely hot, and it’s much more pleasant hiking before or after the hottest part of the day. This means waking up extremely early, 4 AM for me because it takes me forever to pack up. Let’s see how that goes!

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