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Pacific Crest Trail Day 7 – Free Hugs and Pie in Julian

Last updated Apr 13, 2021 | Published on Apr 28, 2017

Day 7 – Julian
Zero Day

I woke up this morning with every intention of hiking out of Julian after running some errands. But my motivation waned as I sat down to a lovely breakfast of waffles with homemade apple compote. My blistered feet hurt and I felt exhausted. Janis and Jason both planned to take zero days today and that sounded mighty fine by me. Also I heard that the hike out of Scissors Crossing was quite the uphill climb which did not seem ideal to tackle at the hottest part of the day. Gordon decided to extend his stay as well and we both secured our own rooms at the Julian Lodge. Yay for my own room!

Janis, Stefan and Gordon at Julian Hotel Breakfast

Jason was already staying at the Lodge and kindly offered to let us park our backpacks in his room while we waited for the 3:00 pm check-in time. Then the four of us walked over to Carmen’s for lunch and to do our laundry.

Carmen’s – A PCT Institution

Carmen’s place is an institution on the PCT. She has a giant banner proclaiming that free hugs, beer, laundry and a place to stay are available to PCT Hikers. Her fryer is currently broken so she had to temporarily close down her business – but she still opens to PCT hikers and serves a limited menu. When we walked in the door, she welcomed us warmly and enveloped each of us in a giant hug and pointed us to the beer cooler. What a welcome!

Relaxing in my Rain Skirt and Wind Shirt while I do my Laundry

I ate a chicken pot pie for lunch and Gordon, Janis and I combined our dirty clothes together for a load in the washing machine. The washer was in use so we relaxed on her deck while we waited our turn. The deck was crammed full with other hikers chilling in the shade and soaking their feet in epsom salt baths. James Taylor and Beatles music played in the background, as hikers shared stories and compared blisters.

Apple Cherry Pie at Mom’s

Once we got our clothes in the washer, we headed to Mom’s bakery for pie. The owner of Mom’s, Alice, has hiked large sections of the PCT and loves thru-hikers. She gives all thru-hikers a free slice of pie as long as they show their long-distance hiking permit. Gordon and Janice had previously met Alice at Scout and Frodo’s in San Diego and had nothing but good things to say about her. And the pie was scrumdiliumptious! Definitely one of the best pieces of pie I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. And that’s saying something because I am picky when it comes to my pie!

We spent the rest of the afternoon popping back in at Carmen’s to babysit our laundry and running various errands. Jason had given me a water bottle holster to strap onto my backpack’s shoulder strap so I could drink water without having to remove my entire backpack (thanks Jason!). So I shopped for a water bottle the right size to fit the holster. I looked for a bottle with a squeeze cap so it could also backwash my Sawyer Water Filter – a trick I learned from another hiker. I also shopped to replenish the dwindling First Aid supplies for my blisters and was rather disappointed by the limited selection.

Hanging out on the Porch at the Julian Lodge

I had spent the afternoon wandering town in my rain skirt and wind shirt as the rest of my clothes were in the laundry. I felt a little awkward but I was not the only hiker dressed that way which was somewhat reassuring. When my laundry was finished, however, I was really happy to don my regular clothes. We ate dinner at Romano’s again, this time joined by Virginia from Norway and Aku from Finland.

Back in my room, I drew a hot bath and spent over an hour soaking in the tub. Ahhhhh…..

I slept like a baby.

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Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

I hope to share this knowledge with you and inspire you to explore new hiking trails too!


  1. Otter

    You are doing great! I hiked last year from Campo to Agua Dulce and am enjoying your blog. I met Gordon several times last year on the trail and it is good to see him hiking again this year. Tell him hello from Sue, if you get a chance. Keep pushing on, the trail is amazing, and thanks for posting!

    • Unicorn

      That’s awesome! I just relayed your message to Gordon and he is pleased to hear from you Sue.


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