6 April 2021
Scissors Crossing to Barrel Spring
PCT Mile 77.3 to 101.1
This morning I quietly left my hotel room with the still-sleeping Zac in time to catch a 7am shuttle with a trail angel back from Julian to Scissors Crossing. I guess that time is reserved for the elderly because I was the youngest old white man in the car!
The trail angel drove fast down the steep curves of Banner Grade until he caught up to the car ahead of us. He then proceeded to tailgate them at a distance of about 5 feet all the way down to the desert.
Did I mention that the car in front of us clearly had a rifle in the back seat?
The trail angel then proceeded to pass the car going up a hill across a double yellow line with about 200 yards of visibility.
If I die on the PCT it will be on a highway!
But this time I made it to the trail alive, intact, and ready to hike.
It’s a steep climb up into the San Felipe Hills but it was cool this morning and I made it up the first 1000 feet with no problem. At my first break I sat to watch a woodpecker flit from one yucca stalk to another as I ate my cold-soaked oatmeal.
Then it started getting hotter and on less-windy slopes I used my umbrella for shade.
It’s 14 miles to the 3rd gate water cache, which is maintained by volunteers (thank you so much!) right in the middle of a 24 mile stretch with no natural water sources. When I made it there around 1pm. There were several other hikers there waiting for it to cool down before continuing, and we chatted as I filled up my water bottles. We were loafing and smelly, which is why we (proudly) call ourselves hikertrash!
I laid down in the shade for an hour and a half and then continued to hike.
After about 5 miles, I caught up with Sherpa, one of the hikers at the water cache, and we hiked together the rest of the day. I actually met him on Day 1 at the Oak Shores Malt Shop but I didn’t see him again until today. He hiked the trail in 2018 and this year he was hiking with a group of about 12 guys who were all new to thru-hiking. He got his trail name because they were constantly asking him for advice and trail wisdom!
Near the end of the day we crossed the hundred mile marker. I was thrilled!
Then we rolled into camp at Barrel Spring where some of Sherpa’s group had already arrived. One of them, Ezra, found out I was a polisci professor and shared that he was actually admitted to the PhD program where I used to work at UC Davis but he decided not to go. We had a nice conversation about academia which led to me explaining my trail name, which was fun to recount.
Here’s my hike-u for the day:
The Paradox of Thru-Hiking
Oh, one hundred miles!
How could such a long distance
Be so very short?