Day 4. Miles 52 to 68 (Pioneer Mail to the Rodriquez water spot and food issues) 4/11/21

No water at all for this stretch, so drank my fill at the start, and pressed on. Had my hot chocolate and oatmeal, and hit the trail at 7:15 (in retrospect, I should have left at 6). Met many new hikers as they passed me during this section

Epic sunrise as I started the day

Right from the start I came across a weird memorial. Will need to figure out what that’s all about

This is the general view during this early section of today’s hike

This photo should go at yesterday’s post. I reach mile 50!! ( trying to smile, Rose keeps telling me to)

During this next 15 miles, the vista was dominated by the valley far down to your right. You knew at some point you would need to go down (I reached 6000 feet elevation at Mount Laguna). And then you would have to go back up. Rinse and repeat as needed. Lol

This is the weird memorial.

The next 5 to 7 miles were quite nice. I met a couple of lovely lasses (Naomi and Bambi, or Tiffany and Ginger, who knows) They were not dressed for thru hiking. This photo was easy to smile for.

I love these signs. I am 2 percent done. Lol

The views over the next 10 miles were very cool, but the valley kept getting closer

Another huge rattler was right in my path.

Terrible video I know, but I thought it moved and was alive. Turns out it was not alive.

Was flat out tired at the end of the day. I reached the bottom of the valley and was assured by Guthooks that I only had 300 to 400 feet of climbing until I got to the water and a camp spot 7 miles ahead. Now to be clear I love Guthooks, it’s a lifesaver. Shows the routes with GPS and no cell phone service needed. Shows tent sites and gives (usually) good elevation info. But in this case (GUTHOOKS LIED).

The 300 feet was much more like 1000 and it was all direct sun. But you had to get to water, so you had to carry on.

I grabbed the 1st close tent spot .2 from the water hike.

Yes, after all that work for 16 miles you have to hike downhill 1.1 miles to get the the faucet then hike back up with 10 pounds of water needed for the next 10 miles of no water and your evening, dinner, and breakfast needs). I was beat up at that point. The unexpected extra elevation, lots of water weight, and days of hiking, were adding up. I grabbed the first tent site close to the water detour at Rodriguez, dropped my gear, set up my tent so no one else could kick me out, and collapsed in the scarce bush shade for 30 minutes. That was the 1st time I thought I might not finish.

But after 30 minutes, I felt pretty good. With only a water bag, I walked the extra 1.1 miles to the water, chugged a treated liter, and walked uphill 300 vertical (Guthooks was right on this one). To be honest, after carrying between 20 and 32 pounds for 4 days, that 10 pounds of water was a feather and the walk was easy.

Slept great this night. Not so well the night before. My feet and knees hurt and I should have taken some pain stuff. Tonight I took some pain stuff for the 1st time this trip. Maybe it worked , maybe it did not, but I was asleep by 9, woke up for a bit at 12 and slept till 4. That’s good for me.

Hiker hunger. They say that in your 1st few weeks you are not hungry and then become famished. So far that is true. I am eating because I know I need to. I now understand why so many thru hikers don’t bring stoves. At night you’re tired and don’t want to cook. In the morning you want to beat the heat and get going. The last 2 mornings I did hot chocolate and oatmeal mostly cause I carried it. I still have not cooked an evening meal.

I never would have thought I could backpack without It (a jet fuel stove). I actually am considering sending the stove back. You just need food. You don’t want to delay starts to beat the heat.

Out of order, Ariana. Logan (Goodwill) , Immaculate and Bear are thru hikers and great people I have met over the last few days. It was nice relaxing with them at Julian. Should have taken a group photo. Lovely people.

Hitching did not work at Scissors crossing (mile 77) after a short but hot and exposed 10 miles from Rodriguez. The Professor saved me and brought me into Julian. He maintains and stocks the water cache under the overpass at Scissors. Amazingly, some of the hiker support people take offense at stocking a cache like this, but trust me the hikers love it.

Had a great relaxing day in Julian after a nice gradual 10 mile drop into the valley. Had my Moms free pie and lemonade. It was really good.

Published by tomconnolly3

Former 270 pound hiking noob is attempting to hike the PCT starting April 8!

2 thoughts on “Day 4. Miles 52 to 68 (Pioneer Mail to the Rodriquez water spot and food issues) 4/11/21

  1. We’re exhausted reading your latest, well written, journal entry. Earl says – keep the stove! Rattlesnake is good eating (tastes like chicken). LOL


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