Even with the wind hammering my tent all night, I woke up feeling like I’d had a sleep in. And had another shower just for the heck of it.
Today is going to be a good day.
Last night Ghost had offered to take us into town, and as promised, he pulled up at 7am to load us into his van for the 20min drive. Along the way we got a quick run down of the best spots to eat and perks of the little town, and we were dropped off on the steps of the Julian Cafe to wait an excruciating eight minutes until open time.
I swear, it was one of the biggest breakfasts I’ve seen.
I ordered a breakfast burrito with avo and mushroom, and it was nearly as big as my forearm. Not exaggerating. The waitress smiled as she let us know the kitchen always looks after hikers: instead of using three eggs in a burrito or omelette, they usually throw in five.
Plus cheese, an avocado, mushrooms, and home fries (basically pan fried potato) on the side. Food comas all around.
We stayed there trying to get it all down – and just about succeeded – for two and a half hours, easily.
It’s an interesting switch from trail and camp and hiker oatmeal to cars and cafes and air-conditioning. And watching people come and go with washed hair and fresh nails and actual white clothes. At least we didn’t smell anymore; I’m pretty sure all of us had had two showers at the RV Park.
Oh, and this is what my fingers usually look like. I think they were double the size yesterday!
We went to the little market store and I got thongs! Thank you Jesus 🙌🏽
I’m already day dreaming of peeling my socks off and slipping these on when I make camp of an evening. They also had Yellowtail Merlot, so I had to get the Australian wine for our midday laze in the park.
I knew today was good!
Another few hours were spent chilling out in the grass, and it was time to hit up Mom’s Pies for our free piece of pie.
Loving these hiker perks!
But as nice as our day in town was, we had to get back to the trail.
We spent eighteen minutes watching cars pretend they couldn’t see us and fly past before two kind souls pulled over to pick us up and take us back down the mountain to where we had left the trail yesterday.
Straight back into it.
It seemed that I blinked and was dirty again, facing more hills and mountainsides and an endless rolling landscape of sand and cacti.
It’s starting to feel like home though.
Winding around the mountains become a game of Where’s Wally?.
I would come around a pass, and scan the next one ahead of me to see if I could spot anyone I knew. Have to break up the days somehow, and little things like this make it all the more fun.
Can you spot Khaleesi and Dario?
As the sun set ahead of me, I kept tossing up the pros and cons of walking all the way to the next water source.
Each time I rounded another mountain, I would be hit by big gusts of wind that buffeted me left and right more than I was comfortable with.
My lack of hiking poles means I can dance as I listen to MC Hammer and J-Lo, but it also means that I held on to the rock face at some points with my bare hands just to stabilise my footing and be safe. And yet, just a few metres further and there was barely a breeze, as the path was sheltered once again.
I had wanted to reach that water cache 22kms ahead, and so I chose to stick with the plan.
I passed hidey-holes with others setting up tents and waiting out the night, and was offered room for my own every time, but preferred to get the kilometres done.
Soon enough I turned my lantern on and that rolling landscape became a dark black mass.
In town I had downloaded some French podcasts – I’m going to learn French out here, I decided.
I was strolling along/clinging to the cliffs and practising my pronunciation of Je suis en forme when a flash caught my eye.
I kept walking and kept watching, and I was trying to figure out if it was a signal fire, or a camp fire, or a bush fire.
In the dark, there wasn’t much to indicate if the red of the fire was minutes from me or hours. I slowly gauged that it was definitely a few miles off, but it was getting bigger.
Coming from Australia, as well as being a member of the Rural Fire Service, I know how quickly scrub can light up and get out of control, so I made ‘the call’:
After giving a few details the lady asked for my location, and I stammered for a second about walking the PCT before I realised I could give her my exact coordinates!
I know it could have been a pretty serious situation, but it was also kinda fun.
The operator let me know that a team was en route, and thanked me for calling in.
I kept walking.
My lantern ran out of battery and FREAKED ME THE HECK OUT. I stopped as abruptly as if I had hit an invisible wall, and scrambled to pull my phone out of its pocket and use the torch.
Another thank you Jesus moment: having a back up light. With the lantern plugged in to my powerbank and phone (hopefully) having enough battery to get me to the cache, I continued on.
It was 11pm by the time I reached where I wanted to be, and I’m glad I pushed on.
It was c o m p l e t e l y protected from the wind, and I had the place all to myself.
The lantern had charged enough to set up my tent easily and take my time, and I also had phone reception again. Getting to chat for an hour to my cousins and Mumma as I munched on my dinner of a plain bread roll and Doritos crumbs = ❤️
Basically a perfect night out here, after a brilliant day.