Because I’d not pitched a tent I decided to take a lie-in in the hut, surfacing at 5:45am. Still earlier than everyone else and I tried to be super quiet packing up my stuff. I was glad I had sorted out my food bag and separated the day’s food last night! I was on the road by 6:30, and by 8am I was ready for a second breakfast. I was planning to stop at a creek about a mile down the trail when I saw a sign in a tree saying there was trail magic ahead. Jeff and Alan had heard about the trail just a couple of days ago and had brought cucumber and hummus, homegrown peaches, hard-boiled eggs and homemade date and coconut balls as well as many other things I didn’t try. They were keen to hear what hikers need as they plan to come out here again and do the same thing. They insisted that we do more for them, sharing our stories and chatting, than they do for us, but I’m not so sure!
The day had plenty of minor ups and downs but I was making good time. At 16 miles in I sat down to make my lunch, but was displaced after about 20 minutes by a persistent bee that wouldn’t leave my face alone. Not wanting to accidentally eat him I packed up and hiked a couple more miles down the hill, meaning I’d done 18 miles before eating at Mule Ears Spring.
Over lunch I decided that if I had single digit miles to go by 4:30 I would try to get to town tonight rather than camp and hike in tomorrow. I’m not sure if it was the Scottish music that did it, but I hiked fast and by 4:30 had 9.6 miles to the road. Thanks Amy Macdonald and Runrig. I also started to see trail markers that someone had written on in sharpie – not sure whether this is particularly “leave no trace” but some of them were entertaining.
The trail got frustrating towards the road – just when you thought you were getting there it would veer off in another direction or go uphill. And the mosquitoes were appalling. I stomped along the last couple of miles waving my arms and grumbling a lot. Still, I made the road by 7:20 and then had a 2 mile walk to town. Once there, I headed straight for the pub to get some fooooood! Thankfully they were still serving. I met Stretch and Daytripper there having dinner with Beeline, and heard their trail tales.
By the time I got to the churchyard where hikers are allowed to camp, there was nowhere to pitch a tent except a steep slope and the centre aisle between tents already set up. I settled for cowboy camping in a flat corner, and hoped that the loud piano and singing coming from 40 feet away wouldn’t keep me awake too long.
Miles: 35 + 2
Camping: Mile 1198, Sierra City churchyard