Day 5: Nearo in Julian

5 April 2021
Rodriguez Spur to Scissors Crossing
PCT Mile 68.4 to 77.3

Last night was WINDY! I thought I was in a protected site, but I was not. It kept gusting any which way right through the bushes on all sides of me. My tent collapsed twice and I got very little sleep.

And the weather forecast calls for it to be even windier tonight!

So you can imagine just how motivated I was to get to Scissors Crossing so I could get a hotel room tonight in Julian.

In spite of my complaining, this morning was really beautiful and I definitely enjoyed hiking knowing that it would be a short day. Thru-hikers call these “nearos” because they are nearly zero days but do include some miles on trail.

Morning light
On the road again!
Alpenglow on the Volcan Mountains

As I was eating my cold-soaked oatmeal this morning I watched 3 hikers backtrack looking for the trail, which was helpful for me because I was also a little confused. After breakfast I played catch up and it was fun to watch them seemingly head in the opposite direction as the trail wound around every ravine.

Hey they’re going the wrong way!

I also found some lovely new wildflowers but taking photos of them was a bit difficult in the wind.

Caterpillar phacelia
Tumble mustard
Stork’s bills
Artemisia-leaved chaenactis
Coulter’s lupine
California primrose
Common yellow chaenactis

After winding around the north face of Granite Mountain, the trail descends to the Valle de San Felipe.

The valle

It was still windy and bizarrely quite hot with a piercing sun making 60 degree weather feel like 80. And did I mention the sand blowing in my eyes.

But I still loved it!

The valley floor was covered in goldfields, cholla, and juniper. And for the final hour I put in my headphones and listened to Grandfeathered by Pinkshinyultrablast.

Fields of goldfields!
Cholla and juniper

At Scissors Crossing I found trail magic — a water cache and ice cold coke!

Trail magic

Then I followed the trail up to the road to hitch a ride to Julian. I ran into Zac who I met on Day 1 at my very first water source, and we decided to hitch together.

I was nervous about hitching — I have not done it much in my life — but we must have set some kind of record. I put out my thumb and the very first car pulled over. It was the family I passed on Day 2 right before I saw the rattlesnake! On the ride up to Julian we learned that a mom and dad did the first 77 miles with their daughter Megan, who will continue a thru-hike to Canada.

And my luck continued. There were no rooms available in Julian. I even called my family to possibly spend a night at home. But then Zac offered to share his room with me. Yay!

While we were waiting to check in, Zac and I got brunch at the Julian Cafe and then hung out at the store then went over to Mom’s where they offer free pie and ice cream to thru-hikers.

That was supposed to be a picture of my pie
Hanging out outside Mom’s

We ran into Berk and GroundScore and SnakeSkin and many other people who started the trail about the same time as us. Funny how it works that way.

We checked in, I took a nap, and the we went to Julian Beer for dinner. And there we ran into Buffalo and the gang from Gonzaga who I met on Day 1. They were there to watch the NCAA Men’s basketball final.

Zac and the Gonzaga gang

I made it to halftime and then got very tired so I called it a night.

Good night Julian!

Today’s hike-u

Thought I could outwit
Winds that blew hard all day long
Then my tent collapsed

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Jay Harrison says:

    I cannot imagine how much all those wildflower identification books you must be carrying weigh! I am enjoying your blog and wondering if you will have any gear revelations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JimmyJam says:

      Fortunately, iNaturalist weighs zero ounces! And so far all my gear choices are going okay. We’ll see!


      1. I was wondering how you’d learned all the flower names! Really enjoying the pics. The landscape is such a contrast to the wet coastal places I go walking in Devon and hiking on Dartmoor.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. JimmyJam says:

        Yes very dry down here!


  2. Panos P says:

    I’ll be playing some Pinkshinyultrablast during Thursday’s class. A household name this one 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. JimmyJam says:

      Wow! That’s great! I never met anyone else who listened to them. I would love to see them in concert some time….


  3. 100peaks says:

    Super fun to follow your progress, especially in places I’ve hiked and backpacked to.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. LauireEsss says:

    Who even thought an ice cold coke would be such a welcome sight! Ok, water as well! Keep chugging, pal🤩🌞

    Liked by 1 person

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