Day 4: Will hike for pie & beer

April 21, 2017

Total miles: 21.9 miles

Start: mile 55.5

End: Scissors Crossing (mile 77.4)

Total elevation gain/loss: 1876.6/4933.4ft

Another early start for us — hiking by 6:30. Our camp spot worked out well and I had my best night’s sleep yet. Today, we were excited to see what we could do with an early start and no interruptions. We didn’t quite make the magical “10 by 10” (10 miles before 10am), but it made a big difference.

The mornings are so beautiful

We passed a stream and collected water after a couple miles of walking. After that, we didn’t really see anyone the whole morning.  Unfortunately, my feet were not happy with my morning hiking. During our big downhill, I could feel more blisters forming. Ugh, so frustrating!

I’m sort of obsessed with the blooming yucca plants.


By the time we’d made it 11 mikes to the Rodriguez Spur water tank I felt completely depleted. I found a tiny piece of shade next to a bus, set up my umbrella to give me more, and collapsed while Michael went to collect water. After having gone miles seeing practically no one, it was a shock to see at least a dozen hikers at the water source. Most had the same idea as me and were huddled in bits of shade to escape the hot midday sun.


After hydrating and eating our lunch of hummus and tortillas we had a decision to make: push another 9 miles to Julian (where we’d heard there was free pie and beer for PCT hikers) or stop after 5 miles or so and potentially go into Julian tomorrow. Michael wanted to push for Julian and I figured that going into town would at least give me the opportunity to clean my poor feet. Julian it was.

First day seeing these gorgeous blooming cactuses


We wound our way along the hillside with views of the flat (and presumably hotter) valley below. We knew we’d be crossing the valley soon and we’re bracing ourselves for the heat. Today finally felt like we were in the desert. It was hot and dry and lacked the green that we’ve been seeing a lot of. My feet were feeling somewhat better after our break and we were able to cruise along.


Just before hitting the valley floor we found a small cave to escape the heat for a few minutes. After our break, we rushed as fast as we could the remaining four miles across the hot valley floor (where we would have had to camp if we hadn’t pushed to Julian).


At Scissors Crossing, we found much needed shade up the bridge, lots of bottled water (we still had enough), and other hikers waiting out the heat. We quickly caught a hitch to Julian with a fast-driving local who shuttles hikers back and forth.

The two French guys we hitched with

When we got to Julian we were sad to see that Mom’s Pie was closed for the day. No free pie for us. We headed over to Carmen’s in search of the rumored free beer. Carmen herself was out when we arrived, but we were greeted by a deck full of PCT hikers and soon had our free beer in hand.


Carmen’s place was amazing. She’s set up a space for hikers, has washers and dryers for hikers to use free of charge, offers hikers cheap beer, and had great curly fries (and good food generally). We hung out on the porch until the restaurant closed at 8pm, then helped remove all of the dining tables from the restaurant and placed them on the porch. About 13 hikers are sleeping on the floor of the restaurant tonight. Free of charge out of the goodness of Carmen’s heart. I even got to take an interesting makeshift shower this evening. I’m clean, my clothes are clean, and I’m we’ll feed. What more can I ask for tonight? Aside from magically happy feet of course…

Camping out at Carmen’s

Current ailments:

Elizabeth: 4 new blisters, 3 old blisters (old)

Michael: misc. muscle tightness; potentially blister forming

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5 thoughts on “Day 4: Will hike for pie & beer

  1. I maintain a website with photos and stories from the PCT. It is completely a labor of love. I would like your permission to re-post some of your photos and some of your text. I would give you full credit and link to your blog. Let me know. I just walked the border to Idyllwild section earlier this year and have walked the entirety of the PCT before. What a wonderful experience you are in for.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the flowers were amazing . . . much more dramatic than my last walk through this section. Thanks for the OK to post some of your content. I will give you full attribution, of course. Hope your walk continues to be enjoyable.

        Liked by 1 person

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