Day 5 – Close encounters of the slithering kind

Date: April 8, 2016

Bushcamp (Mile 61.5) – scissors crossing (Mile 77)

Miles: 15.5

Laurie here- apparently I like blogging 🙂

Today, I nearly died. Or at least that is the story I told myself. I will get to the story in a moment but first let me walk you through our day.

There are many things that could keep me off the trail but the two that seem most plausible are the decline of my mom’s health and pain in my right knee. Yesterday was difficult because of the latter. It was really hard to stop early knowing that we had time and energy for more miles but my body was limiting us.

This trail will teach me things I stubbornly refuse to learn in the city because everything is short term. I am used to pushing through discomfort with the knowledge that the next day I can rest. Trail life is different- damage I do today will haunt me for days and miles to come. While it is my tendency to push through, Andy is wonderful at letting each day be its own adventure irregardless of the outcome. It is helpful to be frequently reminded that it is “all going to be okay.”

We woke up to a quiet sky after rain all night. Then, at 6 it started to rain again.


Luckily it didn’t last long. We were on trail by 7:30 with rain attire but no umbrellas. My knee felt great (thanks to a few tib/fib mobilizations and stretching). The sky was dark and we could see rain sprinkling the nearby hills.

The trail followed the contours of the mountains and we wound up, down and around past flowering cacti and other plants. The air was fresh and cool. After 7 miles we got to a water source- took a little break and chatted with fellow hikers.

Andy is now officially “pole down” since every time he stops, one or more of his poles end up on the ground.

The trail continued down for another 9 miles to Scissors Crossing, an intersection with the highway where hikers typically go to a nearby rv park or town of Julian.

So back to the excitement of the day….

With about 2 miles to Scissors Crossing we were finally on flat ground, my feet were feeling good and I was in a groove.

Then Andy asked for some Chapstick and I reluctantly stopped and turned to give him some.


“What? What?”


He points down just ahead of us on the trail.

Three feet in front of me and about a foot off the trail was a rattlesnake. As quiet as can be.

No rattle.

No warning.

His head was up- tongue going in and out. The mother fu€@~r was stealthy and ready to attack!!

After my heart retuned to my chest from my throat- we walked off trail and around it. Whew.

Andy here.

Shortly after this encounter I almost fell over laughing at Laurie’s hop/skip to warn snakes of her approach. She spent the last 2 miles focused on the ground- scanning the trail for other possible snakes.

We now find ourselves sitting at Mom’ Pies in Julian, out of the rain, waiting for Laurie’s friend Lindsay to come get us from Carlsbad.

Ed, a trail angel, pulled up as we got to Scissors Crossing and drove us to Julian. He is very friendly and willing to help hikers. Thanks Ed!!

Lindsey will host us for a little R&R in Carlsbad for the next two nights before we get back out on the trail Sunday.

So far we are having a blast. Laughing lots (mostly at ourselves and each other), learning about the desert and enjoying the wonders that is the Pacific Crest Trail.

Today we are grateful for hot showers and fresh food.







24 thoughts on “Day 5 – Close encounters of the slithering kind

  1. Dear Laurie and Andy, I am really enjoying following you along the trail. I really look forward to your daily posts and photos. What a dream come true. Best, Nancy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love reading your updates. I have a feeling Laurie is going to be a very successful blogger after this journey.

    You are both great writers and story tellers.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for taking time to write and share hit adventures!! Can’t believe you saw a rattle. So glad you made it around that stinker safe and healthy. Enjoy your two days of R&R. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great reading your updates! I’m hitting the trail at the end of the month, so it’s especially exciting hearing about your experiences the first few days. I’m curious, what app are you using to blog from the trail? Thanks!


  5. So so fun to follow this incredible journey that the two of you on are on! Sending lots and lots of love–I look forward to your updates every day! XOXOOXOX -Viki

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Awesome how you guys went to Mom’s in Julian. Mom’s and Julian Pie Company are the two popular pie places in town. When I lived in San Diego, we made our occasional day trips to Julian for some hiking and pies. Mom’s was my favorite so great to have some of the memories come back thanks to your journey. Strawberry rhubard and bumbleberry were my faves.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Laurie’s snake protection dance | Andy & Laurie Hike the PCT

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