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Day 8, April 3rd

Day 8, April 3rd

Day 8, April 3rd

Bold lizards dart across the trail, moving swiftly as to not get caught under our feet. Others glance at us lazily from sun-warmed rocks. My trail runners are dusty from the dirt path, as are my calves. My heels ache from the occasional rock that I neglected to spot before coming down on it, hard. I have white salt streaks on my yellow sun shirt from dried sweat. I’m excited to get to town for a shower and to wash my clothes.

The walk to Scissors Crossing is a short distance from last night’s campsite; we planned our day around getting to town for breakfast burritos. I’m following three fellow hikers that I camped with the previous night, Journey Man, Dash, and Twist. We called a trail angel, Professor, to pick us up from Scissors Crossing where it meets the PCT. There is a network of Trail Angels along the PCT who are often available to provide rides between towns, trailheads, and resupply stores. Some even host hikers in their homes. Professor loaded us four stinky hikers into his Subaru. He was an expert at jigsawing our packs into the trunk of his car—the clear sign of a seasoned trail angel. Professor gave us the low down on Julian, “no public showers or laundry unless you stay at a hotel. You can stay at the American Legion for free, if you’re trying to save a buck.” My heart sank when I learned that shower and laundry would have to wait another week, but my spirits didn’t stay low for long because I was craving town food. He pointed out the hiker-important businesses as he pulled off of the road on the Main Street: gear shop for resupply (cheapest!), the general store to supplement a resupply at the gear shop, Regular’s Wanted for a large breakfast burrito, and Mom’s Pie Shop for your free slice as long as you can show them your PCT permit.

We waved goodbye to Professor and scarfed down our burritos. Regulars Wanted even had free fruit for hikers. We talked about our hiking plans for the next few days with the incoming storm that promised wind gusts up to 70mph. Twist decided he was going to hike out of Julian that afternoon, so he left us to complete his resupply before heading out. Journey Man, Dash, and I sauntered over to the American Legion to claim cots since we knew town would be busy with hikers seeking shelter from the storm.

The bartender greeted us warmly and brought us around back to the patio where we could set up our cots. The Legion had outdoor outlets for us to recharge our electronic devices, the first step to settling in. The next step was to use their indoor restroom to change into my town clothes. I washed my face in the sink until the water dripping off my skin ran clear, then washed out the dirt ring in the white sink before heading back outside. 

Journey Man, Dash, and I basked in the sun silently and contently. I heard motorcycles approach the building, and three leather-clad bikers joined us outside. They eyed us up, and the woman smiled when she saw our packs. “Are you out hiking?” She nudged her husband when we confirmed, “Mark, look, these three are hiking the PCT!” Mark turned his attention to us and smiled too as the two of them peppered us with questions about our hike. Through the exchange, we learned that Mark works at a law office in San Diego with folks who are recovering from addiction and are trying to regain custody of their kids. He applauded our motivation for living in nature. 

Mark told us of a time he rode his bike up a mountain. He found a tree and hugged it. A pine cone fell in front of him and sat at his feet; he took it as a sign. “I felt connected in that moment,” he admitted. He talked about his belief in the need to raise the collective consciousness of humanity, but said that we need to first raise our own awareness before seeking to change the world.

- Mantis


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