Day 5 route overview
Once down in the basin, it’s a short road walk to Scissor’s Crossing on highway 78. Hitching into Julian shouldn’t take too long on this busy road leading to a trail town. Once stocked up it’s time to get back to the trail and continue meandering around the contours of the desert mountains and make your way to the 3rd Gate water cache, a safe haven for hikers late in the season and plenty of campsites in the area too.
Starting out in the flat of the desert floor is misleading prior to your resupply in Julian. Once you return to Scissor’s Crossing you head northwest and it’s a long and steep ascent back up to the hills which you’ll follow for the next couple of days.
After descending to the desert floor I camped with a number of hikers who’d decided to stay on the trail. Some day hikers came by who said the Forest Service was happy for hikers to be outside as the spread of the virus was much less outside and in the wilderness. I used it all as a good excuse to stay on the trail. I went from mentally preparing myself for my return to the UK to deciding to push onward to Canada overnight. If so many people were staying after what the PCTA said, surely it was worth sticking around to see what happens first, rather than calling it quits at the drop of a hat. So much was at stake from all the prep and planning and the trail had finally dried off.
I had decided to go home, but things were changing every day with the updates on COVID-19, we didn’t want to leave and then 3 days later the PCTA then say we can get back on the trail. We’d continue along the trail and wait for further updates.
The hitch into Julian
After packing up camp we headed to Scissor’s Crossing before jumping under the highway for a drink from the water cache under the bridge. A hitch came within minutes and took us into Julian for us to get some lunch and fill some boxes to bounce ahead should store hours change, we’d have a backup.
Back on the trail
After Julian, we headed back into the desert to ascend back into the mountainside and continue along the trail through after darkness until we reached the 3rd gate water cache. This water cache was huge with tent sites everywhere and hikers bedding down for the night. It was the perfect spot.
- Views and vista 80% 80%
- Difficulty 70% 70%
- Elevation gain 80% 80%