Hiking, PCT 2015, Travels

Day 4: Soggy Pia heads for Julian

Woah, what a day. After setting up camp in mad winds and rain (and re-staking the tent at 11pm because a peg had literally been torn out of the ground) I woke up to the inside of a cloud. Again.

Teresia and I hiked together for the day, and I had a strong reminder of the connection between hiking in a cloud and grumpiness of Pia. Hiking inside a cloud means I’m cold and wet, neither of which are my favourite things, but both of which I can stomach if there’s an upside. Usually this is a spectacular view. On the inside of a cloud, there’s no view. But this time add gusts of wind of 40+ mph. Woohoo.

Coming down underneath the cloud was a great feeling, and the mood changed instantly. Being able to hike shoes and socks dry(er), not having to be enveloped in a hood 100% of the time, and being able to *see* the national scenic trail scenery was pretty awesome.

We hiked in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for much of the day, and when the skies cleared momentarily we could see all the way across the valley to the desert. The plant life is mostly scrubby vegetation where there has been a burn, but it’s bringing the green back. The grasses are a beautiful golden colour which might be less pretty when reminded that it’s the lack of water that makes them that way, and the brightly coloured cactus flowers make a wonderful contrast.

We met up with Fran and Sababa in the afternoon when they caught us up on one of my terribly slow descents. We made pretty good time out to Scissors Crossing but by the time we got to 3 miles out it was raining again. Weird to think that in So Cal where there is widespread severe drought I haven’t been dry in 2 days.

Everyone says that the hitch from Scissors Crossing into Julian is pretty easy, even though it is 12 miles, but I don’t think they meant when you’re part of a soaked-through group of four. We actually got a ride reasonably quickly, in the back of a pickup. We sailed away towards Julian pretty happy with life; relieved to get a ride, cheered by the thought of free pie and the prospect of dry clothes, and the rainbow behind us. 3 miles later when the rain started to come down hard, the thought occurred that perhaps the back of a pickup wasn’t the best place to be. Our ride was super kind and waited with us whilst we organised ourselves in the Julian Lodge which showed “No Vacancies” signs outside. He said he hadn’t expected the weather to get so bad when he first picked us up. Nope, nor us. The awful weather has forced a lot of people off trail for the night. Diogenes and Megra already had a room (forced off trail after sleeping a night in an outhouse) so I moved in with them, whilst the others got a ride (with the same pickup guy!) 5 miles up the street to a guest house with beds. All good. And Fran and Sababa can come down and split this room tomorrow and we can all zero together with pie, laundry services, and a heater to dry things off.

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