Woke up many times thru the night due to my not great tent placement. Damn pad kept sliding down hill making me wake up squished into the corner of the tent every hour or so. Decided at about 5am to just get up and get ready. Packed my bag, watched the sun rise and got a head start on the walk for the day
After about 4 miles there was a spur trail that lead to a pit toilet and water .25 off trail, I took it. When I arrived there were a couple van life-ers parked in the lot. They offered me some snacks and chilled a few with em before moving on.
Got back on trail and walked for about 6 hours until the first real break spot. The sun beat my calves and has made strange burn patterns on my skin.
The walk here has been hard. In fact it has been the hardest day so far. There was a very long waterless stretch, the sun was in full bore and there were some long steep downgrades that were very hard on the knees. It was beautiful though.
Pushing a few more miles, the sun and lack of water became too much to deal with. So we did the smart thing, found some shade and took a ciesta.
We discussed how much more we were going to push for the day while we took the break. The orginal plan was to make it to the highway to hitch to Julian in 2 days. We decided to make it in 1 instead. 17.5 miles later we made it to the highway.
First time I’ve ever stuck my thumb out to hitch. We get picked up by an older German man nicknamed “Volker”. We load our gear into a special basket he has attached to the back of his beat up Suzuki Vitara.
As we headed up the mountain road into Julian he tells us quite a few stories about his past and how he has been helping thru hikers for a while in this area.
A quick 20 minute ride we are no being dropped off in the center of town.
We walked from hotel to hotel to only be told that there were no rooms… stress was setting in. Our legs hurt, everything hurt and we all wanted to just put our bags down and rest. Finally we find a place that has two rooms available and we snatch them up.
Turns out they are historical houses made back in the gold rush up here. Sounds great and all but…. it wasn’t. More on that later.
We dropped our bags off and went into town to find food.
Found a really good Italian restaurant. Ordered a large salad that could have fed a family of 3 and I also ordered a pizza for the day and following day. Soon all five of us had also done the same and we had zero room left at the table.
Walked back to our rooms full and happy. Took a bath a tried to get some sleep. Still debating on hanging out in Julian tomorrow and letting the legs recover a bit, its hard to walk.
The trail has been amazing still and I can’t wait for everyday to come.