It was still windy when I woke up, my tent flapping so hard that it was knocking off the condensation, essentially raining inside. I packed up fairly quickly, chatting briefly with the others while eating my rum raisin oatmeal that I had soaked overnight. I hit the trail first around 7am, knowing they would soon pass me no matter how much of a head start I got.
The views were incredible and the trail was all downhill. I saw my first snake! It was not a rattlesnake but I did amost step on it and it never moved. I kept feeling the group closing in on me and was motivated to stay ahead. Around 9am they passed me and I was on my own. Watching them follow the ridgeline down the mountain was awesome.
About an hour and a half after they passed me, I hit a wall. Downhill may sound nice, and for a while it is, but eventually your toes start screaming about being smashed and your knees get weak. The sun was high in the sky and I was hot with no shade. The foot-pulverizing rocks were inescapable. I just could not go on so I sat down next to some flowering cacti and contemplated this endeavor.
I turned on my phone to see how many miles I still had to do before reaching Scissors Crossing (the hitching point for Julian) and realized that I had phone signal so I called home. That was all the motivation I needed to trudge the remaining 3.75 miles downhill.
I got to Scissors Crossing and no one was around so I wasn’t sure where to try and hitch from. I just stuck out my thumb and the second car to pass did a u-turn and came back for me.
The driver was very friendly, a Julian resident about my age name John. He said he had to come back when he saw how disappointed I looked that he wasn’t stopping. I guess I’ll have to use that in the future! We chatted easily while he navigated the winding road- it actually holds the world record for the most turns per mile. He dropped me off in front of Mom’s, a well-known Julian business among hikers for good reason: they give thru hikers a free slice of pie with ice cream and a free beverage. I got a slice strawberry rhubarb pie (no ice cream) and real fresh lemonade. I was impressed to see that Mom’s uses compostable cups and paper straws- way to go!
The Julian Cider Mill also gives treats to hikers for free- a cup of fruity cider and a bag of chocolate covered banana chips. It is a nostalgic little candy shop with all kinds of goodies- hard to resist! I saw Kevin who had decided to stay the night in Julian due to pain his ankle, and also saw the rest of the group who planned to camp under the Scissors Crossing bridge. I went to the general store and grabbed the only insoles they had (super cheap foam) and some sunscreen and was ready to go back to the trail. I had met a trail angel named Ghost at Mom’s who offered me a ride back to the bridge at Scissors Crossing so I found him again and headed back.
I was the first person from our group that got back to the trail. It was sandy under the bridge so I sprawled out in the sunshine and wrote a bit. Eventually Becky, Backtrack, Zack, Nick and Squirrel returned and everyone was refreshed from town. So refreshed that we started doing cartwheels in the sand. For an hour. Once we were burned out from sand gymnastics (as if we weren’t burned out from the day’s miles already), we all laid in the sand with our feet up on the wall of the bridge, and did a series of stretches, sharing tips and laughing.
We had plenty of time to relax, so we embraced the bridge-dwelling, sitting in a circle and passing around gummi candies, a bottle of cheap wine and a bottle of Fireball. We are officially bridge trolls. We also completed a NY Times crossword puzzle, so somewhat intellectual bridge trolls.
The sun finally set and the wind picked up drastically. We rolled out our sleeping bags in a row and camped without setting up our tents, relying on the bridge to keep us dry if it rained (this is known as cowboy camping). I had never cowboy camped, so this is yet another first! Looking forward to tomorrow and more firsts.
Trail magic: 2 (free stuff in Julian!)
Blisters: 0 (new)
Items lost: 0 (new)
Hiked with: no one
Camped with: Becky, Backtrack, Zack, Nick, Squirrel, and 6 other bridge trolls