PCT Day 7 – Settling in

Settling into the dirtbag hiker’s life.



It’s been a few days. I left you guys in Mount Laguna. Good thing I didn’t stay too long; they had a blizzard two nights ago. I spent that night sleeping under a bridge at scissors crossing.

That bridge way down there.

But, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. The rest of day 3 provided some of the most stunning views I have ever experienced. Close to those of Death Valley, imho. Check out the view of the Colorado Desert!!

Just, wow.

You can see the Salton Sea (30 miles away) from there! I spent that night cold and alone. Though, I wasn’t too terribly alone as Emily was reading to me by phone all the way from home in Brooklyn. We’re cute like that.

The next day was spent walking along Sunrise Highway. More absolutely insanely stunning views of the desert laid out before me.

I walked by some urns and plaques memorializing loved ones.

Day 4 was an insanely beautiful day. But, boy, did my feet hurt. Every night, starting day 3, my feet have hurt in all kinds of new ways. I believe that it has to do with the fact that my shoes are what is referred to as 0-drop. This means that the sole is the same thickness from heel to toe, whereas most shoes these days drop from heel to toe, oftentimes close to a centimeter or two. I’m hoping that they continue to settle in quickly.

Even though they hurt every night, I wake up feeling ready to walk again. Good thing, too!

I awoke day 5 and someone immediately passed me as I was wrapping up my sleep system. As I had walked alone the entire previous day and most of the one before that, I chased him down. He had stopped to take a picture when I caught up.

I ended up walking the rest of the way to Scissors Crossing with him. His name is Andrew. He is a wonderful young man who mostly ended up listening to me speaking at him. We chatted about all kinds of life things. Plans, experiences, interesting ideas we have learned about. Twas a nice day to be able to spend it with him! Thanks, Andrew!

When we got to Scissors Crossing, we hitched a ride into Julian about 12 miles up into the mountains. My first ever hitch! Won’t be the last.

Mom’s offers free pie right in downtown Julian, so we beelined it straight there. While sitting there quietly resting, we were joined by two noisy gentlemen named Medicine Man and Piney. They have each completed the PCT (’14 and ’15 respectively) and have since been living on the road, hiking a bit each year, and doing a whole heck of a lot of trail magic. They mentioned free food and beer under a bridge for hikers; I did not hesitate to say yes.

I hopped on into the big red van with a hangboard strapped to the roof that telescopes out for use at any waypoint, and we headed back down to Scissors Crossing. They brought out a propane stove, a big hunk of ham, some bread, pasta with eggs thrown in for protein, beer, and set up their hammocks next to my bivy under the bridge. We spent the night talking about all manner of things. Mostly of their adventures of the past few years. Medicine Man is headed up to the Coastal Range shortly for a climbing expedition to put up some new routes on big tall cold walls in British Columbia. I coulnd’t stop talking to him about climbing haha.

We fell asleep watching The Dawn Wall (a documentary about rock climbing). I awoke to a parade of hikers coming in. We all had omelettes, I had a leinenkugel, and I was on my way.

I met many a new friend that day as I climbed a few thousand feet out of the desert valley. It was gorgeous.

The desert was in full bloom. Beautiful. By mid-afternoon, I was starting to consider places to camp, but it was also getting very windy as I was up at the top of the mountain. So, day 6 ended up being a nice long trek for me as I descended the other side of the mountain long into the dark. 24 miles on a day that I didn’t start walking until 11 or so. Ooph. But, at least I was greeted with a quiet campsite with no wind and plenty of tree protection. There were even frogs ribbit-ing! In the desert!!

I woke up a little wet this morning, but feeling pretty good. I practically ran into Warner Springs and was here by 11 AM. It was a surprisingly green 8.5 mile jaunt!

I spent way too much time here at the community center, but they did provide my first shower and clothes cleaning experience in the past week.

They have what they call bucket showers. If you, like I, are unfamiliar with bucket showers, then let me describe them to you: you get a bucket, fill it with water, and then proceed to wash yourself. They are kind enough to provide big jugs of soap and shampoo and charge just a $1 for detergent. I feel way too clean to be a thru-hiker right now.

I charged up my battery, grabbed my food re-supply from the post office down the street, and now I’m enjoying the afternoon sun writing to you guys. Warner Springs Community Center is definitely a nice place to stop by for a rest!

Oh, and I passed the 100 mile mark in the dark of the night yesterday evening!!


I can’t wait to get to Idyllwild. I hear it’s a wonderful place for hikers, and I’m hoping to hang out with plenty of new faces and mentally prepare myself for Mt. San Jacinto with friends. I should be there in a few days, unless my ankle keeps feeling like it does right now. Either way, I’ll check in soon. Talk to you all then!

With love,

Justin, the pupper.

3 comments on “PCT Day 7 – Settling in”

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