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Mile 1176.7–1192.7 (16 miles)
Rose: Yogiing lots of food & beer from the campground Thorn: heat of the day Bud: town food tomorrow, skipping the burn section
We hiked along the ridge before dropping into more manicured forests like last night. It was hot, humid, and sticky. One of the odd things about being out for days in the wilderness, not even knowing the name of the national forest you’re in, is when you come across civilization. We had a number of “road crossings” marked on the map, but Far Out doesn’t distinguish roads very well, so it could be anything from an abandoned Jeep road to a two lane highway. Around eleven, I walked through a developed area with well graded roads and forest service campground signs. There was a big reservoir to my left out of view, but I knew from the Far Out comments on the road that it was only a half mile to a glorious swim. My back and arm pits were completely drenched in sweat. The concentric salt stains on my shirt were stiff to the touch. I wanted desperately to jump in that lake. If Beans had been around or it had been two hours later in the day, I would have done it, but alas! I carried on.
I found Beans at the next water source 30 minutes later. We hiked on until 12:30 for lunch. It was so hot. Even the breeze was hot. We set up in the shade for a little siesta. Somehow we had passed Maverick and Pots who joined us for siesta. We were only going to take a 30 minutes nap, but they baulked at our time limit. When I woke up after half an hour, it was much too hot to carry on, so I continued the siesta. All in all, we lunched and napped for two hours. It was still so hot when the four of us left.
Thankfully, our path dropped us down into shaded creek valleys for the rest of the day. Being exposed to the sun in even short bursts between trees convinced me more than anything that skipping the burn is a good idea. It’s a good 15 hotter in the sun.
I still longed for a swim. After a couple of hours of sweaty hiking, we reached an established gravel road which we followed to Wild Plum campground and a shortcut into Sierra City where our resupplies are. It being a Saturday night, the campground was full up, but we managed to find a site that had been reserved by someone who moved campsites. It was available and free! We quickly stashed our smellables in the bear locker and started walking down the road to town in hope of some town food for dinner. Unfortunately, after 30 minutes of walking, some flagged down cars confirmed our suspicion that every shop, convenience store, and restaurant were closed except for the expensive resort on the far side of town. We decided to turn around and take a dip in a glorious swimming hole we had spotted on the walk down. It was still hot and the swimming hole was nice and cool.
Almost back to the campground, cars were passing us on the way in. One of them gave me party vibes (we had missed a Brew Fest down the road) so I yelled at their open window, “Do you have any beer?” They stopped the car and gave us a couple Coronas. “How many miles did you hike today?” “16.” “Woah! Here’s another beer!” “We actually have a fourth in our group. Could we get one more?” “You’re milking it!” “No I swear!” Handed us another.
They were camped in the campsite across from us. We became the loop’s little celebrities. We were given more beers, fruit, and fried chicken. The drunk guy from the earlier car was completely enamored with the PCT, so he brought us Tajin-seasoned cucumbers and chatted us up in the dark. After we went to bed, Pots was given remnants of a cake on the way back from the pit toilets (“Are you the PCT hikers? Here, we couldn’t finish this.”). Beans and I roused from bed and ate a delicious cake. What a good night of Yogi-ing. Much better than a long walk into and out of town and spending $40 on dinner.
Tomorrow we’ll go into town, pick up our resupplies, eat breakfast, and shower properly. Pots and Maverick are going to continue hiking in the afternoon. Pots will likely get off trail at Quincy and skip around the fire. Maverick will hike through. Beans and I will attempt to hitch up to Old Station tomorrow.
At camp: Beans, Maverick, Pots