With seven miles to go until reaching the road to Julian, I got an early start to avoid the worst of the heat. I reached Highway 78 around 1100, put my thumb out and was immediately whisked away to an air-conditioned hotel by a local named Dylan.
$118 is more than I’m accustomed to spending on lodging while on the trail, but my desire to get out of the heat loosened the grip on my wallet.
The Julian Gold Rush Hotel has a storied history. The town hit the map after an ex-slave came across a few shiny flakes in a local creek. The enterprising prospector quickly got out of the gold business and entered the consumer goods market to supply the influx of amateur miners flooding into the area. The hotel was built at the height of the rush. After most of the gold had been extracted, the town turned to agriculture and is now well-known (world-famous is the town’s preferred adjective) for its apple pies. They might be good compared with the bastardized, stereotypical American apple pie, but the slices I had didn’t hold a candle to Winkel’s in Amsterdam.
I had lunch at Romano’s; the lone Italian place in town. It’s a good name for the place as their Alfredo sauce uses the cheese of the same name instead of the traditional Parmesan. The portion was large and tasted better than what I’ve been eating on the trail, so the substitute, while cheap, was acceptable.
I crashed hard into a food coma upon return to my room. I woke up at 0700, had the excellent and complimentary non-continental breakfast and headed for the trail at 1100.
After being dropped off at the trailhead 13 miles out of town, I passed under a road and found 10 or so hikers taking a siesta. Despite wanting to get some miles under my feet, I joined them.
At 1700, I knocked out the 1,000-foot climb and settled into camp.