Date: July 27, 2017
Miles: 8.1 miles (13km), from Milton Creek to Sierra City, and to mile 1,198.7.
Health: Feeling good. Shin feels good and the shoulder has almost healed.
Today is a town day! As I only had 4.5 miles (7.2km) to do in the morning, and as nothing usually opens before 9 am, I was in no rush. I get on the trail around 7:30 am and walk the short hike to the highway 49 in an hour and a half.
The hike was gorgeous. We're moving away from the Sierra and the open vistas, and are currently going through more forestry areas where we hike more under the tree canopy. The trail followed along the bottom of the valley, next to the river, and snaked around massive trees. It was nice to be in the shade all morning as the summer heat, especially in the lower elevations, is really getting to be too much for me. Even this early in the morning.
Right before I reach the trailhead I arrive at a really cool bridge crossing the river and stop for a good ten minutes to marvel at the water below and to take photos. I had completely forgotten that my camera has an internal ND filter (Neutral Density) so I go a little overboard with water pictures. Shame I didn't remember this in the Sierra while walking through all that water.
As I get to the trailhead I see Kick Step there. She's standing next to a truck with her date for today. Her friend came to see her and they’re taking few days off in Sierra City. They give me a ride down to the city and as we reach the town I'm fairly surprised. I had imagined Sierra City as some large town, but it's the smallest town we've visited so far. The main street has probably about ten buildings, and the population of the town is 225. There's even no cell service so I can’t get any blog posts out.
I get to the Red Moose Cafe & Inn for breakfast and see familiar faces–James is here. The last time I saw him was in Sonora Pass a few weeks back. We swap hiking stories as enjoy a large breakfast together. James is doing a proper thru-hike. He never accepts any rides, not even to towns, and walks every step of the way. This means that towns that are further from the trail, where we have to hitch to-and-back, he can't go. So he's carrying like two weeks worth of food at a time. He tells me that the last "town" he went to was VVR. First of all, VVR was only a small resort in the middle of the woods, and second, that was over three weeks ago. That's insane!
As James heads out, we make plans to meet again at some point on the trail. I settle my bill and head "downtown". I quickly walk through the whole town and get to the Post Office and General Store. I go into the Post Office to bounce my bounce box to Chester as I have no need for rain or thermal gear. The weather is so warm getting rained on would be a blessing.
Then it's time to do the resupply. The selection at the general store is pretty minimal. I basically buy a ton of bars, a bag of chips, and Idahoan Potatoes to last me to either Quincy or Belden.
I join the small group of hikers on the other side of the road, in the shade of the closed out hotel, to spread out my food and make sure I got all I need. I don't know any of the hikers, which is a bit strange, and there's not much small talk going on. I notice that I'm missing one day worth of food so I dash back in to get more instant potatoes.
There's a small charging station at the side of the General Store and I take my devices there to get enough power to make it to Quincy. That reminds me that I still haven't finished the order on the new battery bank. I need a much larger bank to be able to edit photos while on the trail and to get through the longer sections we're getting to.
As we're sitting in the shade I see a familiar figure walking down the street, Kendall! I can't believe it! I thought she was way ahead of me. I run out to hug her. After catching up, she goes to do her resupply and I continue my Amazon ordering.
The next spot where I can send mail to is going to be Chester, and as there's a weekend between now and me getting there, the regular 5-7 day shipping might not make it in time. Kendall points out that you can join the Amazon Prime on monthly payments. I check the pricing and a single month of Prime is cheaper than what it would cost to ship this one package with the 2-day shipping. Sweet!
As everyone around me is eating, I decide to get one of the famous sandwiches from the store. Inside I see others are ordering the Gutbuster, one pound (490g) bacon-cheese-avocado burger. Looking at the massive burgers on the grill I know I'm not up for the challenge today. The sandwich is more than enough today.
After the sandwich, I go back in to get a milkshake. As I'm standing there, waiting for my shake, someone comes over and says my name. I turn around and see a hiker wearing a khaki shirt, not recognizing who the hiker is. I look up and see a familiar blue hat and a big smile, Blü? What the...?!?
We just start laughing and hugging each other. I can't even remember the last time we saw each other. And what's up with the non-blue shirt?
Blü twisted his ankle a few days ago and is off the trail for now. He rented a car and is on his way to San Francisco to pick up Fyre and then skipping up to Chester. Wait, Fyre is getting back on the trail? How awesome is that! They're going to be few days ahead of me but hopefully, I’ll catch up to them. Blü needs to leave soon but how cool is it that we both happen to this small town, on the same day, at the same time? The trail provides. We say bye and I hope I'll see him, and Fyre, soon.
The rest of the day is spent in the shade, eating, drinking, and basically trying not to move. It's over 90 degrees (32c) in the shade and no one wants to start climbing up the over 3,000 feet (910m) of elevation gain back up. Some people decide to stay for the night but Kendall, Sam, and I decide to leave once the weather gets cooler in the evening.
As soon as the sun sets we get our gear and start walking up the road while trying to hitch. It's such a small road that there are only a handful of cars going by. We get halfway up to the trailhead before we get a ride.
From the trailhead, the trail starts climbing and we keep a nice pace. We run into a small rattlesnake not far from the trailhead. Kendall is really pushing it fast and after getting more water at a spring 1,000 feet up, she pulls ahead and Sam and I hike at our own pace.
We're not climbing all the way to the top tonight, so we stop at the first possible camp spot about 1/3 of the way up. The spot is pretty great and there's a nice 360 view. You can even see the lights of Sierra City down below.
It was fun hiking again with someone. I know that Kendall likes to hike alone, but if I can keep up with her (she's fast!), maybe I'll have some company. I also hear that KB and the others have done a 34-mile day and are kind of wrecked because of that. But that also means they're right behind us! It would be great to see them too!
As Kendall and Sam go to sleep, I stay up late taking long exposure shots of our tents and the stars. I'll get less sleep but I hope it's worth it.