A jam packed day, everything from organizing my resupply to fit it all in my backpack (which always takes some time) to hiking nearly 22 miles after starting at 10:30 am.
Butterfingers and I were up and out of camp relatively early, compared to my recent camp departures. Our motivation was a cup of coffee and ice cream for breakfast at the Burney Falls State Park General Store. Arriving around 7:30 am, we were too early for them to serve their soft serve ice cream. Once again my attempt at getting ice cream has been thwarted. Fortunately I was in no rush, and wanted to take some time to see the Falls, so after I shoved all of my resupply food into my backpack, Butterfingers and I walked the quarter mile paved trail down to the bottom of the Falls.
Once back at the General Store, we got at least 2 servings of soft serve ice cream and chatted with a few other hikers and people visiting the State Park for the day. One of the hikers name was Surplus, a German women from Seattle who always... and she emphasized ALWAYS had to much food. She said she tried getting rid of more in town, but giving away half or more of a resupply box in every town can be mentally challenging. Other than that, she was having issues with the monotony that can be felt while out on the trail.
I feel a lot of hikers were having issues with the monotony of Northern California. We were all use to hiking in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains, which on a bad day would have an infinite amount of incredible views. For myself, Northern California was hot, dry, Bear and Dear infested, but overall I was beginning to find my rhythm and enjoy the new scenery.
Having a date to meet my family at Crater Lake also helps motivate me to keep moving, even on the days I don't seem to enjoy. Today was not one of those days. Having some amazing views of Mt. Shasta did not hurt.
Butterfingers and I left the State Park together around 10:30 am and set a goal for a campsite around 22 miles away. I figured this would take roughly 9 hours of walking, plus an hour and a half of breaks (at least), putting me in camp around 9:00 pm. I have not been a fan of hiking very late due to it getting dark, but with it being mid-summer the days are very long and hiking till 9:00 pm can easily be done without a headlamp.
About 5 miles from camp, I passed Simon who had setup his tent on an exposed area of the hillside with an EPIC view of Mt. Shasta. He told me he and a friend back home were competing to see who had the best campsite this summer. I think his site could be one of the more spectacular campsites along the PCT. Definitely at the top of the list for Northern California.
Nearing camp, the PCT travels through an area with so many Noble Furs that the area smelled like Christmas.. or rather Christmas Trees. The Sun set about the same time I arrived in camp providing me enough light to setup my tent with Butterfingers, Surplus and M&M. There were enough mosquitoes around to keep me in the mesh of my tent while eating dinner. It has actually been this way for most of Northern California.
I quite enjoyed the uphills, as one may assume, they provided better and better views the higher I went. They also didn't really hurt or bother my body. Where, in contrast, the downhills utterly destroyed my body. Everything from the tips of my toes, to my top of my neck felt the effects from going downhill.Read More
Sticking to it, the last 5 mile leg of the day was a brutal down hill that made my legs scream at me! I would have actually taken a break had it not been for the dense Poison Oak, a first since the Desert Section, that filled the hill side.Read More
Mileage Breakdown: 1.4 mile road walk from Sierra City to PCT + 3.3 miles on PCT = 4.7 miles total.
My foot felt much better this morning after having cleaned it up last night. Today my goal was to let the blister air out as much as possible, with hopes that a the old skin would stiffen and create a strong natural band-aid over the new skin.
Sierra City is a wonderful town, filled with lots of life from both residents and car travelers. The majority of the commotion in town came from the PCT hikers who have been allowed to set up camp at the local church yard on all days but Sunday. Next to the church was a nice restroom with a shower. Though the water was cold, the temperature outside was in the high 90's which made the water more welcoming that it could have been.
One of the properties in town has access to a large swimming hole. It was a little walk down a small trail, but once there it was worth every step. Skinny Thor (ST) and I hung out there for a short period before heading back to the General Store. I would eat three large meals from the restaurant, two of which were burgers and one was a gigantic breakfast burrito. I surprised myself when I finished the burrito. I guess my body is telling me something about my eating habits. NOT ENOUGH! But really it's nearly impossible to eat enough.
As mid afternoon arrived, I started to contemplate leaving town today. Skinny Thor chose to wait for Back-Track (she started the PCT with ST) who should be arriving tomorrow. He wanted to discuss each others strategies for the rest of the trail. I got the sense that ST wanted to walk faster and further each day than his friend. Most people who started the trail with someone found staying together a challenge in itself.
Finally having made up my mind, I left town around 7:00 pm which gave me 2 hours of light to hike in. I decided to walk the road back to the trail, as I wasn't in the mood to try hitching and it was only 1.4 miles back to the trail.
My pace was slow from having eaten so much, but I kept it steady. I was unsure what the camping situation would be, but the maps indicated there were some open campsites before starting the exposed climb out of the Sierra City Valley.
Tonight's camp was in the top 10 campsites along the trail. The lens on my phone's camera was dirty and I didn't realize it. The pictures don't do the site justice at all!
There was one other person in camp, I would later find out it was Simon, a section hiker I met while in Sierra City. His friend had decided the trail wasn't for him and he was going back to his home in Switzerland. I say again, getting to Sierra City was tough for a lot of hikers.
As I was setting up my tent, Simon unzipped his tent (it was dark as the sun had already set), looked out and yelled, "HEY". I didn't know what it was all about, but he later told me he thought I was a bear.