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  • gspencer16

Day 4: Pioneer Mail To Scissors Crossing (24.2 miles)

Updated: Aug 20, 2019

May 11, 2016 - Wow, that was a hot one. The entire day was out in the open and no shade. Also there wasn’t much water to be had which has been pretty common so far. Both water sources on the day were water tanks, one was pretty nasty but really didn’t have much of a choice, had to trust my filter.

The day started off nice, got going around 6am to hike on what looked to be an old road that had been closed off some time ago. Had a great view of the desert for awhile before heading back west. It was lots of up and downs to the first water stop. Anytime i crossed by a ravine I got a nice jet of cold air. Once the sun came up it got hot fast so little bit of cool breeze was nice.

Had a fun time trying to find my first water source of the day. I get to the turn off for water but was unsure to take the trail or the next one 0.25 miles away. I decided to take the next one. However, I misread the map and turned out that last turn off was the only trail to the water. So I had to backtrack, wasted time in the hot weather. The water source was a metal tank with very gross looking water, it really was just a horse trough. I was just about out of water and not many water options so I scooped in and filtered it. I was a little nervous with drinking this water but after talking with another hiker he convinced that my filter would work like its suppose to and that I would be fine.

After filling up water I hiked some more in the heat with no cloud cover. I was able to use my umbrella sometimes but it got windy in spots and came close to breaking.

The trail started to head down which meant I was heading to the desert floor but was still 13 miles from the road crossing. The downhill took a number on me and just about everyone else. Soon after my last water fill up I grabbed my umbrella to help keep the heat off. Soon after the wind picked up and ended up breaking part of it, I was able to fit it when I got to camp using a lot of duct tape.

Finally descended all the way down but it was still another 2 mile hike through the hot desert floor to the road. I wish I had been able to use my umbrella as there was zero wind.

Once at the road crossing I had 3 options. I could just set up camp at the road crossing or hitch 12 miles west to the town of Julian or hitch 4 miles east to the RV park. I debated for awhile of what to do. I knew I was done hiking for the day as I was out of water and the next water source on trail was a long ways off. With it being after 5pm the store at the RV park was closed and the hitch to Julian was too hard, so I decided to stay put and get water. The water report said there was water in the creek but had a hard time finding it. I asked one of the few hikers around about it and they told me that it’s all dried up. I guess I had to trust them so I was left with hitching to get water. I figured the hitch to the RV park would be easier as it was shorter. I got a hitch from a nice man but his car was completely filled with trash.

I get to the RV park to find out that its closed for hiker but still allowing to get water. I was able to find a shower so that was a nice surprised. I got in and out as quick as I could and got enough water to last me for awhile. I wanted to get back to the trail as soon as possible as I knew when it started to get dark then it would be tough to get a hitch. It was only 4 miles back to trail but I was pretty tired.

Took awhile but someone finally stopped, actually someone leaving the RV park. The RV park was closed to hikers because of a church retreat so I figured this person must be fine. I opened up the door of this old truck and it smelled so bad, BO and pot. My first thought was I should pass on getting in and wait for another ride but I had never had any issues with hitching before so decided to go with it. That was a bad idea and should have listen to my instincts. The lady driving the truck was clearly on some kind of drug, she was driving all over the road and couldn't understand what she was saying but it was only 4 miles back to the trail. However I somehow agreed to help her move a dresser that was loaded in the truck bed. My first thought, this lady was helping me so I should help her. We pull off the main road onto gravel passing all these burn down house which really started to make me feel nervous. Also with it starting to get dark didn’t help make me feel any better. We finally get to her house or she said it was hers but for all it knew it was someone else's. She backs in this large garage as that's where she was living as her house had been burned down. That this point I had a bad feel, well more than I did before. She makes me do all the work trying to get this cabinet out of the back of the truck. It took everything I had to push it out. Then I hurry and push it in the garage but then I try to get her to take me back but it almost seems like she is stalling and won’t let me leave. Finally I convinced her and get back into the smelly truck. It's so bad I had to cover my nose which I think insulted the lady but at this point I didn’t care. As the truck got closer to the trail I tell her to slow down but ends up driving past where I told her to stop, that this point was I was ready to jump out of the moving truck. Finally a quarter past the trail she stops. I get out quick and run away.

Back on the trail at Scissors Crossing I find out the water source wasn’t dry so I wasted lot of time getting to and from the RV park.

Then while eating dinner under the bridge I’m listening to these 3 other hiker talk which was driving me crazy so I pick up everything and made an excuse to camp away from everyone and they seemed cool with it.

Now I’m listening to the howling coyotes to put me to sleep.

Last climb of the day before heading to the desert floor

The hike towards Scissors Crossing.

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