Day 4- Everyone Knows It’s Windy

Moonset at Sunrise Mtn Trailhead

Sunrise Trailhead to Scissor’s Crossing

Mile 59.5 to Mile 77.3

I woke this morning to the wind peeking beneath my tent fly and rattling the walls as if to say “Come play with me Johnny” Planning on a long, hot day, I started packing up around 4:45 with the idea I could beat the worst of the heat by walking early. While I was taking down my tent, the wind played the first of its tricks by lifting, tipping the whole thing, and threatening a merry chase across the meadow in what I imagine to be the backpacking equivalent of a ‘Natucket Sleighride’. Fortunately I had left a corner staked so the chase was postponed.

Where I came from, where I am going, and the way forward in 180 degree panorama

The trail today wound in, around, over, and through more dry hills descending gradually but offering no shade. I had thought today’s challenge was going to be the sun and lack of water. Spurned earlier, the wind returned to foil my favorite umbrella trick. So it became a day of ups and downs of the opening and closing sort until I had to finally admit defeat after a sneak attack snapped one of the umbrella’s spokes. The capricious wind and merciless sun proceeded to punish me for the rest of the day.

The dreaded poodle dog bush, a fate worse than poison oak I am told

Congratulations to Easton! who correctly answered yesterday’s quiz. I indeed left camp this morning lugging 5 liters of water which I drank over the next 9 hours with nary a pee break. Talk about dessication. The sun and wind together were relentless and I imagine my vapor trail prodigious.

Water vapor is good for some things

Trudging along I was snapped out of my reverie by a thick, copper rattlesnake about 5 feet ahead and uphill on my left. Fortunately her business end was pointed uphill so I passed by safely as she rattled her welcome. My anxious vigiliance ratcheted right back up to 11 and the next mile flew by.

Looks well fed to me

Also today I made my first 10×10, a merit badge of sorts in the hiker community. The idea is to hike 10 miles before 10am. Fortunately my Garmin doesn’t report pulse rate because I had to hustle when I realized I was close.

My first 10×10!


Entering the San Felipe Valley

The trail finally forfeited its elevation to the floor of the San Felipe Valley where the trail crosses Highway 78. Here lies the fabled Scissors Crossing water cache tucked beneath an underpass, the only water source for the next 23 miles. The other option is to hitch a ride into Julian, CA. 50 years old and never having hitchhiked, I promptly stuck out my thumb. It wasn’t long before Steve, a volunteer teacher and desert mountain biker picked me up.

Late blooming hitchhiker

Would you pick this guy up? He is so out of focus. Not sure yet if I will stay here tonight or hitch back to the trail, water supply restored. Stay tuned.

8 Replies to “Day 4- Everyone Knows It’s Windy”

  1. Amazing… and you are in Julian on my daughter, Julian’s 14th birthday!! Woohoo! I am having a taco bar dinner with my daughter and she is all smiles!


  2. My great uncle owned a beautiful ranch in Julian that was a family jewel for over 100 years. It was totally destroyed in a wildfire about 15 years ago.

    Those rattlesnakes would all but do me in! Glad you are handling them so well.

    Also glad you made a friend while hitchhiking. I do not know if I would have been so brave.

    Keep up the good work! I ordered a UV umbrella for my trip after reading your last missive. Many on the Camino use them but I needed an authority I could trust.

    Much love,


    1. Hey Beth, Happy Mother’s Day! You will have to remind me of ‘the extra challenge’. There are many… 🙂


  3. Left us with a cliffhanger tonight. What did you do? Stay or stick your thumb out again? Good job either way! Congrats on your 10×10!


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