No one is clean anymore.
All the pristine white sun shirts and crisp khaki adventure pants from that first day? The layers of sweat and dirt they’ve accumulated are truly amazing. When you’re hiking this far for this long, you don’t bring multiple outfits—just the necessary layers to keep you warm/cool/dry/safe. So everyone’s wearing the same thing every day, and the transition from “just walked out of REI” to “hiker trash” was pretty rapid.
We’re also all completely on hiker time. We camped next to about a dozen people last night, and everyone was in their tents going to sleep at 8:10PM. You’ve walked all day, you’ve eaten, it’s dark… time for bed. Nine PM is known as “hiker midnight.” And the early risers were up at 4:30AM to start walking before the heat of the day set in. (This was not us—but we were hiking by 6:45AM.)
So nothing is clean anymore, and I’m also really starting to smell like an unwashed hippie. Which is part of why getting to Julian today for a shower and a night in an actual bed was so exciting.
We hiked 9 miles down into the first legit, not-effing-around desert we’ve encountered so far: cacti, bare sand, and real heat. It was a long, hot last few miles to Scissors Crossing, but I was in power-through mode: shower, shower, shower.
We got our first hitch of the trip with a very nice couple from San Diego who said they had teenagers so don’t worry about getting their minivan dirty. They dropped us off in the quaint and touristy town of Julian, where we picked up our second resupply box and got a room at the Julian Hotel, which looks far too nice for hiker trash and yet has a bright pink sign welcoming PCT hikers and offering special rates.
We gave them our truly gross clothes, which they launder as a complimentary service (!!!!), and then made an unholy mess of our room’s shower and beautiful white towels. Next was Mom’s Pie House, where PCT hikers can show their thru-hiking permit and get a free slice of (really, really good) pie à la mode. Julian is a magical place for hikers—a town that makes us feel special and welcome rather than a filthy annoyance. I mean, the Julian Hotel offers a 20% discount for hikers, when it should really be a 20% surcharge to cover all the cleaning products it will take to make the shower floor white again. It boggles the mind.
There are tons of hikers in town—some new to us and some familiar, including the two 20-something-year-old brothers who passed us on the first day and who we thought we’d never see again. (They were taking a few days off while one recovered from an Achilles tendon injury.) The rest of the day was “afternoon tea” at the hotel and Bananagrams with fellow hikers Andy and Allison, then dinner and beer at the Italian restaurant across the street. It’s been a very nice and necessary break.
9 miles hiked, Mile 68.4 to 77.4 Scissors Crossing