Tent site – Julian
9.2 miles.
977ft up. 1951ft down.

It was a lovely warm night, we were in a bit of a dip so we were braced for a cold morning but it was very mild. There was a bit of rain in the early hours which sounded on the tent a lot worse than it was. I was struck immediately with the smell of summer rain.

We packed up and hiked out. It was only 9 miles to the road and I had no plans to stop until I got there. You can see the road for ages but the trail is high above and it keeps dipping in and out of the mountain. The trail is mostly downhill, with some little ups thrown in but mostly it was easy walking so I flew along at 3 mph. The cactus were absolutely beautiful, and they were everywhere. It was like walking through a cultivated cactus garden. So beautiful but impossible to capture in a photo the scale of the fields of them, and also the sun was in a really awkward place!

Last year this section was pretty hellish. A long uphill in the considerable heat with a locked up hip and little experience. This year I really enjoyed it.

Before long I was at the road and sat down to wait for Catwater. I assessed the hitching situation. Lots of traffic but mostly RVs and cars pulling dirt and quad bikes. We decided to walk up the road a bit where there was a turnout where people could pullover. As we were walking up the road a car pulled in to the turnout we were aiming for and asked us where we were going. Julian we told them. Sure we’ll take you they said! The best type of hitch. A hitch without really trying. They were a really nice couple and they only picked us up because we were women. Love being a woman!

They took us right to the door of the hotel. Awesome people. We were a bit too early to check in so we dumped our stuff and went in search of real food. We found Miners Diner which unfortunately were only serving breakfast, but the omelette was good and I ate every scrap. I finally quenched my thirst with a sprite. The diner was really busy and we noticed how we had lost our ambient noise filters again. Noises are all the same level. Loud.

We then went through the agony of resupply. There isn’t a huge selection in the 2 small grocery stores and I had to just get whatever I could to power me to the border. Cake. Crisps. Chocolate. Cheese. A lot of cheese. Seriously craving salty and savoury over sweet right now.

We went past Moms Pies, where hikers get a free piece of pie. But the queue was about 70 people long. It was crazy! Julian is famous for its pies and it turns out that half of San Diego was in town trying to get some for Thanksgiving. Town seemed crazily busy and we were glad to get back to the hotel and hide away from it all. We did usual town things. Shower. Internet. Talk to family and friends.

Then it was time for tea and cake in the dining room which was really nice, then it was time to seek out more food. We found the Julian cafe and bakery which was packed full, but we got a table and had our drinks served in a glass boot! After the earlier cakes I had a pastry craving so had a chicken pie which came with lots of lovely veggies. And that weird ‘soup or salad’ with your meal thing meant I had a cream of broccoli soup to start which gave me a good nutrition boost!

Back at the hotel we collected our laundry and settled in for the night. The room only had one bed which of course Catwater had, but the bed had about 15 pillows on it, no exaggeration, so along with my blowup mattress and a few of the pillows I made a nice comfy nest in the corner.

We have been receiving a few warnings about a storm tomorrow. We couldn’t make a decision on what to do so we are going to decide in the morning.

Writing this tonight was real chore. I’m so close to being done but this is getting harder and harder to maintain.


I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps.




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