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Rose: movie night with Beans Thorn: being delayed a whole day because of that stupid store Bud: a solid plan to see the midpoint monument
Today was exceedingly annoying. We awoke to wildfire smoke in the air. So thick you couldn’t see the trees on the surrounding ridges. It irritated my cough all day and caused GNOME and Ziggy’s group to skip up to Quincy. Word of mouth, more than Inciweb, told us that it was smoke from the Yosemite fire. The wind has shifted and brought us the smoke. Beans called home: there are now 2–3 fires around her home town. Her parents aren’t too worried, but they have their things together for an evac.
We had breakfast at the Red Moose Cafe, which was good but expensive. I had French toast with eggs, sausage, and hash browns. There were lots of hikers, and by the end of the meal, our table sat seven.
Beans and I bid adieu to the table, including Pots and Maverick, and proceeded to the Country Store. I was anxious to start our long hitches for the day. The plan was to hitch from Sierra City to Chico to Redding to Old Station. It was going to take all day, and most of the campground hoards had already departed that morning.
Unfortunately, this is when the whole day fell apart. The Store was closed. There was a sign on the door that said they would close early at 3pm, but instead they closed at 10am after briefly getting a few people’s packages at 9am. The owner had gone to Reno to resupply the store, and the two shop workers were too hungover to open the store. I was so livid. All we needed was our packages, and we could get on with our lives. Ugh! I cursed the store for hours as we aimlessly loitered on its porch, on the side of the building, at the hotel’s porch on the other side of the street. 20 hikers were all bottlenecked in Sierra City waiting for the store in the wildfire smoke and sweltering heat.
Eventually the second shop hand dragged his hungover self to the store to open it at 2pm. He was too hungover to fix the offline register or turn on the overhead lights, so everything was cash and it went very slowly. None of the prices were marked either. The few items I did buy were exceedingly expensive.
Bean’s package wasn’t there. It’s at the Post Office apparently, so now we’re stuck spending another night here waiting for the Post Office.
Gandalf pointed out that by skipping the burn section, we would miss the halfway mark. We decided to copy their plan: Beans and I would now hitch up to Chester, back hike 8 miles to the marker, then 8 miles back to Chester, and the burn area ends something like 15 miles north of Chester between Chester and Old Station. Still cutting ahead around most of the burn, skipping ahead approximately six days and 120 miles. So what if we didn’t hike all those halfway miles? I’ve given up on any kind of pure continuous footpath garbage. I do feel like it’s not entirely truthful, that I should hike the burn, but it’s my vacation and I don’t want to hike the burn. 🤷♀️
We charged our devices, ate a late lunch, said good bye to our fellow hikers again (pretty much everyone else got on trail after the heat of the day), and then took showers at the public bathroom—there was a free wet bath in one of the restrooms.
Beans and I bought some canned margaritas and made camp at a pullout on USFS land up the road. We drank our margaritas while watching a movie (which we were constantly pausing) and talking into the night.