Great Day to be an Eagle
We woke up to our coldest morning yet with frost covering out tents. I was not too thrilled about this. When packing up, my fingers froze right away (gloves are on my list to get) and I had to stuff my wet dirty tent into my pack. I knew we’d get the chance to clean and reorganize later in the day, but it still frustrated me.
Meanwhile, dad was trying to tell me about his dream involving him buying a brand new truck only to find out they mistakenly had sold him a van instead. It was a highly detailed dream and had many plot twists, but I was just too distracted by the cold to comprehend it all 😉
6:45 we we’re hiking with both top/bottom long underwear underneath. The trail immediately went up and we lasted maybe an hour before removing the baselayers. It was a pleasant morning as we wound our way along the mountain sides. All was going well until around 8:30, when Dave H mis-stepped and tripped over a protruding rock within the middle of the trail. He took a tumble and landed sideways, scraping his elbow and shin. Could’ve been a lot worse, but soon after he was up and trekking onward.
For the rest of the day, we adopted the theme of “constant vigilence,” which is something I picked up from an old Professor of mine at Hogwarts School. We would not let ourselves be distracted by views and flowers and such, but keep a constant look-out for rock offenders in the trail!Soon after, we found a lovely spot for breakfast. Dad had this nice bench to sit on, which I thought was some interesting looking rocks. I’ve been really wishing I was a better geologist and could explain some/any of what we’re seeing!Once going again, we came around a bend and saw 20+ Jeeps cruising slowly down a two track. Then, not soon after, we came across our water supply, a tank that occasionally gets filled by a fire truck. We still had to filter, but were happy to have the water. We loaded up with a lot since the next water wasn’t for another 10 miles.We’d been descending again today and soon entered the lower elevations with wild flower blooms, but even more so this time were cactai, all over the place. Here are some fat giant asparagus plants (yucca?) and some skinny giant asparagus plants (agave?). And lots of cactai (we call this first variety the strawberry toe cactus):
That was the one and only flower on a cactus that we saw. We were very intrigued by it all. While walking non-chalontly through all this we had let our guard down…and sure enough another rattlesnake!!! This time was worse. The stupid thing was about four feet to the left of the trail in some sparse grass, and just after dad had walked by, it rattled. I literally jumped up, said some choice words, and turned tail and high stepped it the other way. My heartbeat was pumping. He was about 3′ long and eventually slithered away. I booked it past and he rattled again as I did so. Ugh, the living worst creatures. We were pretty nervous after that, surely now we would keep constant vigilence going forward.
Soon after, we stopped for a nice lunch under a large boulder and finally set our tents out to dry.Then, we made it down to relatively flat land, the bottom of the “valley,” and walked through another cactus garden. We made it to Scissors Crossing, which is a junction of two highways. Originally, we had intended to stay on trail for the night, but needed some supplies, so decided to head into the town of Julian. Julian is 12 miles down the road from the trail, so we ended up getting a hitch into town form a guy named Pete.
Neither of us can remember ever hitchhiking, so this was a new experience for us. We waited all of 7 minutes before getting our ride and then had a nice chat with him during the drive about the area. He was familiar with the trail and was actually returning from a backpacking trip himself when he picked us up.
We splurged in Julian and stayed at the Eagles Nest Bed and Breakfast. Showered, got our supplies, had dinner at the Rongbranch Restaurant, and did some laundry. A very nice place. We were extremely happy with our decision to visit Julian!