Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 6. Eclipse

77 to 82.4

Pathfinder, Susan, Farwalker and I took a fabulous "nero" in Julian. That means a day with nearly zero miles.  We spent most of the day in town resting and eating, and hiked a few miles into the San Felipe Hills in the evening.
Resupply in Julian- fresh food!
It was Farwalker's birthday. She is such an amazing person and it was a joy to spend the day with her. We had a leisurely breakfast in the Julian Lodge, resupplied at the grocery store, had a celebratory birthday lunch for Farwalker, and then ice cream at a soda fountain.  It was so great hearing Farwalker's stories of her CDT hike and about her adventurous life- she's done so many different things and has a generous spirit.  Hiking with her was incredible too because she knows so much about natural history. Truly an inspiration, especially for how to live life to the fullest.
Farwalker telling stories.
In the afternoon, we got a ride back to Scissors Crossing from a trail angel named Martie. Thank you so much Martie!
Climb out of Scissors Crossing.
I'd originally planned camp at Scissors Crossing- the last trees for 24 miles, but decided instead that I'd try cowboy camping tonight for the first time.  I wanted to camp with everyone else for the full moon, and also make it to the next hang site tomorrow. I've not slept on the ground for many years, and if I'd known I'd have to sleep on the ground, I don't think I'd have chosen to hike the PCT in SoCal. But now that I'm out here,  I want to know I can do it, so I don't have to be so nervous about it. Pathfinder found a gorgeous site with a view at mile 82.4, the sky is clear and the wind is calm.  I'm right between Pathfinder and Susan so I'm feeling very safe. What sweet hiking partners! 
I never ever imagined I'd actually choose to go to ground, but under these circumstances, I'm just thrilled.  We got to hear more stories from Farwalker and danced around giggling as the sun set.  I'm interested in this experience of being nestled here on this outcrop, under this sky, with moths buzzing about, watching the moon rise.
Dancing as the sun sets.
And the most incredible thing just happened- Farwalker just heard from her husband that there is an eclipse tonight-- a blood moon-- what a place to view it!


Wow!! We set the alarm and watched the eclipse for about an hour.  Incredible it actually did look reddish.  What an experience to be out on that tiny little spot under the huge sky, with the moon putting on such a show right above us.  Pathfinder wondered about all the other people watching the eclipse at the very same moment.

As for my experience going to ground, I must say that I was able to sleep, so that was reassuring and gives me greater flexibility.  Yay!  It certainly wasn't at all comfortable and the quality of sleep wasn't great. When I was on my back my shoulders and butt hurt but I was warm with my quilt around me an my 6 sections of Zlite torso pad. When I turned over on my side, my shoulder hurt and my back was cold because I sewed my top quilt very narrow to save weight cause I normally use an under quilt.  But it was a level of discomfort that was tolerable especially when I concentrated on all the parts of my body that weren't cold or sore, and 'breathed' into the soreness like we learned to do in yoga and trapeze.  I have no desire now to carry a better pad though- I plan to find hang sites most nights.  But I 'm so glad I took the opportunity to enjoy the eclipse with everyone and it's great to know I will be ok if I have to (or choose to) go to ground in the future.


  1. Replies
    1. I saw a sign for Ocotillo at the road crossing!

  2. So glad the ground dwelling worked out for you. You're having such a great time!! Can't wait for more posts and the photos are amazing.

    1. Thanks, Tracy! I'm so glad too. Forgot to add that I used the hammock and under quilt under my legs so at least they were padded very well and not sore- gotta keep the legs and feet happy.

  3. I'm so glad the ground dwelling worked out for you! Julian looks like a fun little town. I've lived my whole life in Southern California and I've never been there. I watched that eclipse too in my backyard in Torrance, CA (about 15 miles south of Los Angeles) and I was sure wondering if all of you PCT'ers could see it (I was also kicking myself for coming home from Joshua Tree instead of staying one more day). I love your pictures and all of your blog entries! Thank you for sharing.

    1. That's so cool that you were watching the eclipse too!!! I didn't hear anyone talking about it before hand, but the hikers I talked to the next morning said they'd seen it too. Do you know if there is another eclipse this year- someone seemed to think there might be.

  4. As a fellow hanger, I am interested to see how many nights you have to go to ground in SoCal.

    1. There are quite a few ang sites- more than I'd anticipated especially if you don't mind getting creative or camping away from everyone. it will be interesting to see for sure as time goes on- I'll write more about it later too. This trail is definitely not set up for hangers and I don't think I'd recommend it to beginning hangers- it's not easy like the AT. Also some sites that would be good for hanging I've decided to pass up for various leave no trace reasons-- like if I know I would end up making an impact if I camped there-- so it definitely takes me longer to find a site compared to everyone else who can camp in already established sites that are already in the maps and easy to find. but I am happy to be hanging for sure, but then again, I tend to like to camp off by myself anyway.