March 23, 2018
Rain tapped on our tent this morning, waking us gently. It stopped while we ate breakfast and packed up camp. As we began to hike, the clouds lowered, with a fine spray of water materializing around us!
Cold misty clouds play peek-a-boo with the sun!
The sun broke through around 10:00 a.m., bringing warmth, blue sky, bird song. A hummingbird posed on a tree branch. Flowers bloomed, lining the path with a heady aroma.
As we approached Lake Morena County Park, a sign informed us of trail magic in the campground. A man named Possum in a fancy motorhome handed out snacks, water, Bibles, and good wishes.
Trail Magic at Lake Morena County Park
March 24, 2018
Today being Saturday, we met many day hikers.
Megan, with her dog Buddy, stopped to admire our packs. “Those are the smallest packs I’ve ever seen on thru-hikers!”
We, in turn, admired her dog, a mixture of German shepherd, Doberman, and black lab. Well mannered and content, he obviously thrived under Megan’s care.
Our trail climbed 3,000 feet today, entering a zone of pine trees and cold wind. The end of the day found us at Burnt Rancheria Campground, sharing a campsite with seven other thru-hikers to save money. Normally this would be an opportunity to talk and visit, but the icy knife-edged breeze and plummeting temperatures drove us to huddle in our tents!
Hiker tents sharing a spot at Burnt Rancheria Campground.
March 25, 2018
Last night at the campground I took the opportunity to wash a few articles of clothing, expecting them to dry overnight in the arid mountain air. After a night with temperatures in the 20s, I had the unique ‘pleasure’ of slipping on freeze-dried clothes! Brrrr!
We hiked into the town of Mt. Laguna, gladly ate a hot breakfast at the Blue Jay Cafe, then bought three days of food in the local market.
As we hiked onward, we were amused to see the younger, faster hikers pass us one by one. Suddenly, we came upon the whole crew, clustered around a cooler full of trail magic snacks. Traffic jam on the trail!
Jay and I took a quarter mile side trip to get water at a rest area with a tank for horses. Much to our dismay, we found the water tank dry, with a broken valve! With 10 more miles until the next water, we were prepared to get very thirsty. Suddenly, a family drove into the parking lot. Jay began talking with them, and before I knew it, they were offering us water bottles from their trunk! Amazing!
True trail angels – giving water to parched hikers!
We continued on, happy to have water for lunch and the afternoon.
March 26, 2018
As we hike, I feel we are between desert and forest. Blooming bushes intermingle with cactus. Clouds scud across the sky, making rain a possibility. We’re not in the desert yet, but the progression of plant life gets steadily drier.
We camp on a high ridge, sheltered from the wind by a few thin bushes.
March 27, 2018
Today the trail heads downhill, dropping 2,000 feet of altitude with a few miles of switchbacks. Scissors Crossing is our goal, where we plan to hitchhike into the small town of Julian. After six days of hiking, I can hardly wait to take a shower!
Upon reaching Scissors Crossing, we stick out our thumbs and are delighted when the third car pulls over. Marie and Ogden from Quebec are camping across a bit of the Southwest. They had heard that Julian had fabulous pie.
Later that afternoon, after a shower, we tried the pie at Mom’s Restaurant. Wow! Jay asked, “How do you make such incredible pie?”
The reply was prompt, “Love and magic!”