Day 8 – Friday April 21
Scissors Crossing Mile 77 to Mile 86.6
PCT Miles hiked today : 9.6
Feet Ascended Today: 1750
Feet Descended Today: 750
Current Elevation: 3259
I awoke refreshed today after my day off in Julian. My blisters were noticeably improved this morning and I was raring to hit the trail!
My hiking buddies were less eager to get as early of a start. Gordon had managed to secure a ride back to the trailhead at 10:00 am with Alice, the owner of Mom’s pie, but she only had room for 3 people. This was fine by me as I preferred to leave earlier. I’m a slower hiker and knew they’d catch up. I walked north of town toward the recommended hitching location, passing the post office on the way. I used the opportunity to mail home a few extra things (warm baselayer pants and a sleeping bag liner).
This time I only had to wait about 10 minutes for a ride. A gentleman named Gary from San Diego was on his way to day hike near Scissors Crossing and kindly offered me a ride. He dropped me off on near where I exited the PCT so I could pick up the trail where I left off.
Under Scissors Crossing underpass a cache of water is provided along with some lawn chairs. Volunteers bring in gallons of water for PCT hikers at strategic locations as there are some pretty long stretches without reliable natural water – sometimes up to 30 miles (although this year it’s less of an issue than previous years). I’d already loaded up with 4.5 liters of water in Julian – it’s more than I typically carry but the next water cache is located 14 miles up the trail and I didn’t want to run out. Just as I was about to hike north of Scissors Crossing, a car pulled up and Jason, Gordon and Janis all piled out of Alice’s car. I finally got to meet Alice, who is an absolute sweetheart.
After Scissors Crossing, the trail climbs uphill about 1,000 feet over 2-3 miles and follows the curvature along side of the hills. Janice and I hiked the first part together with the gentlemen following shortly behind. It was a warm afternoon – about 85 degrees – and we hiked until about 12:30 when we found a spot in the shade to eat lunch. There wasn’t much shade to be had in this stretch, and it was difficult finding a spot.
Around this time Stefan joined our little group. He had been experiencing some hip pain and had to slow down a little, and so ran into our little group. He also has a silver hiking umbrella, as does Janis and Jason (and me). And today was a great day to hike with an umbrella!! I got a kick out of watching 3 silver umbrellas bobbing along ahead of me along the next hill, stretched out in the distance.
I considered hiking to the next water source, which would have made for a 14 mile day, but everyone else wanted to stop at a gully around mile 86.6. I’m glad we did. It was nice to not be totally wiped out when we stopped hiking. We met a couple of other hikers, Mike from Texas and MacGyver from Portland, and cooked dinner together in relaxed camaraderie.
The subject of trail names came up over dinner. Both Janis and Jason have trail names from previous hikes. Jason’s trail name is “Halfway” – his name comes from from asking in his sleep “are we were halfway there yet?” on his attempt to hike the PCT last year. Janis’ trail name is “Garnet Turtle” from her hike of the Appalachian Trail. The first half of her name, Garnet, is because garnets have special significance for her and because she used to wear garnet earrings. The second half of her name, Turtle, is because she is notorious for being a little slow to get rolling in the morning – but she’s a fast hiker and usually catches up later in the day. We had all been using our first names up to this point, but agreed to use their trail names going forward.
I elected to sleep without the rain fly last night and was treated to a lovely view of the stars. What an amazing day.