Jacob Leistra / "Game Boy" / PCT 2019

Day 4: Trail Pain, Julian Pleasure

Mile 71.2 -> Mile 77 to hitch hike in and out of Julian -> Mile 83.1

I woke up with some foot pain, likely due to jamming downhill in a long section with jutting rocks the day before. I hobbled my way in the early morning heat and got to Scissors Crossing. We were able to find a ride into Julian with the second vehicle that passed by. A nice guy in a truck told us to hop in the back and he blasted up the windy roads into this San Diego gold rush town.

Excited for some rest and relaxation, we started with complimentary pie for PCT hikers from Mom’s Pies, a Julian institution. We then ran errands to resupply and tend our injuries. Papaya was having some tendonitis, so he cleverly made use of a frozen orange juice concentrate. He and Trashalope then discussed the number of burgers they’d expect to eat over the trail. Trashalope, living up to his name, was certain he would eat 100+. A bet was made.

We then spent a good 3-4 hours at Julian Brewing Co. eating slices of pizza, drinking beers, and meeting new hikers as they arrived in Julian. This experience cemented my understanding of what the “PCT community” is and why it’s so special. Every hiker had a story to share, a fun trail name (or the seed for one to come), and a work to address with sympathy and understanding from their fellow hikers. We all connected over the past few days and the days to come. Some of us bonded over Game of Thrones, which a few watched in a hotel room while I streamed on my phone, while others played cornhole and planned the next 100 miles. After the next 100-mile stretch, we would hit Idyllwild, an even bigger town with more amenities and ways to slow down and enjoy the pleasures of everyday life.

I hitched out of Julian and hiked close to 6 miles up the mountain. I found a few of the hikers I’d been trailing, and we set up for sleep before a big day tomorrow. Some.are trying to push into Warner Springs, but I think I’ll take it easy and save that for Wednesday.

Main Photo: A few shops on Main Street in the town of Julian, CA on May 13.