Mile 1195.4 Sierra City to mile 1284.4 Braatens in Belden

Mile 1195.4 Sierra City to mile 1284.4 Braatens in Belden

Day: 58
An uneventful day.
Day Fifty-eight: 29 June 2015
Start: HM 1205.3
End: HM 1234.4 Alder Spring trail junction
GPS Point: 39.784205, -120.923070
Day Total: 29.1 miles
Water at mile 1213.5 Little Jamison Creek, 1217.2 A-Tree Springs, 1221.3 seasonal spring, 1234.4 Alder Spring
It feels like nothing happened today. It was beautiful and nice and we hiked. The end. Overall a pretty quiet day. I hiked alone today too. Normally I hang out more to cross paths with Endless and S&M, but today I just hiked ahead. It was something I haven’t done in a long time. I forget how much I can lose myself in thought while left to my own devices. I think I’ve missed that. In fact, there has not been a single day this whole hike where I woke up when I wanted, hiked freely at my own agenda, stopped when I wanted, and camped wherever I ended up that night. Always there is a predetermined camp or multiple inputs on where camp should be, and always there are people I will run into or take breaks or lunch with. Strange.
While packing up camp and shortly after leaving camp, I saw One of Us on trail and KC and Longjump packing up their camp. I didn’t see them the rest of the day. There was also an older couple who are doing a big south section of trail. They were very intrigued by trail names. It cracked me up. Then there were two guys whose names I never asked for and never received. Then there was White Rabbit who came out of nowhere. He flipped to Burney State Falls to hike back to Truckee for the fourth. So smart! Other than this section, I think he is just a regular nobo. Maybe we will run into him when he returned to Burney State Falls.
There were lots of deer today. I saw different clusters with distinct appearance differences as if they were different types of deer. Despite having observed a deer necropsy and documenting their habits in MN, I know very little about deer varieties. The weather was pleasant today, but very hot over the prime midday hours.
I ate lunch at mile 1221.3 with Endless and S&M. S&M has been waking early in the mornings to hit the trail before I even have my first snooze session. It is nice to have lunch with all of us though.
We briefly brought up ideas for possible 4th of July plans. None of us really had anything planned or expected, but with it fast approaching, it is on the mind.
While in South Lake Tahoe, Endless had talked with a trail friend named Big Cheese. Big Cheese was off trail for a visit by his girlfriend and wanted to deal out some trail magic during that time. He contacted Endless to see where we might be. Back to the present, today is when we would have crossed paths with Big Cheese if he made it this far north. Unfortunately, by the end of the day, there was never a Big Cheese encounter. Endless was forlorn for some trail magic.
I am actually somewhat surprised by the fact that we haven’t seen any trip magic since leaving the Sierras. Endless thinks we are too far ahead and no one has anything out yet. Considering how close we are to Truckee and Tahoe, two major outdoor hubs, no one seems sympathetic to the hungry hikers.
It was a good day for 29 miles. I hiked 7 AM to 7 PM including a two hour lunch and thirty minute evening break.
Day: 59
Best river for a swim!
Day Fifty-nine: 30 June 2015
Start: HM 1234.4
End: HM 1262.9 tiny space near Big Creek
GPS Point: 39.87503, -121.11597
Day Total: 28.5 miles
Water at mile 1247.2 Middle Fork Feather River, mile 1251.3 small creek, mile 1257.2 Lookout Spring, mile 1263.1 Big Creek
Last night was some of the best sleep I have had. I woke up drooling. I caved and set up my tent. Great decision! I slept in a wonderful bug net where I could shed hot clothing layers instead of cocooning into a hot cage of sweat and bug exposure. I think using my tent will become a steady theme.
For an early, pre-lunch stop, we hung out at Middle Fork Feather River. So awesome! Seriously one of the best swimming spots of the whole trip. The water was just right. Cool when you first jumped in, cool again after sitting out a bit, but overall warm enough that you could actually hang out a while. There were also these great rock structures just at surface level to sit or lay on in multiple different ways: sit or lay completely out of water, sit half submerged, stand or dive off into deep clear water. It was incredible! With perfect timing too. The day was just getting to a stifling temperature and we haven’t had a swimming hole in a long while.
S&M stopped on the south side of the river and we never saw her. Endless and I hung out with this small group of guys we had never met before (their ring leader being Rebo, a guy who consistently posts to the class Facebook page…). There were a few others too who we didn’t talk to. A group of four day hikers hung out a minute with us too. The two guys from that group have been hiking about 100 miles of the PCT each year for the last 11 years, and were doing 15 more miles today. They are from the Bay Area and glad to be finally driving to access points closer to home.
Since the river was only a third of our day’s distance, we hiked a few miles further before taking lunch at a small creek. Today was so hot. I tried to be extra diligent at staying hydrated. We met Red Feather and Alaska, a daughter and father duo hiking the PCT. There was also a girl named Legs there before Endless and the father-daughter pair showed up. S&M showed up too!
Further along this evening, we stopped at Lookout Rock (mile 1257.4). I took some risqué scenery photos to capture the stunning view with a new take on the subject matter. It was nice having so few people around on trail while actually hiking. Not until late in the day did my group comprehend that our end point was a water source and not a campsite. Somehow there was a tiny little patch cleared on the ridge just before the creek. It was just big enough for Endless and I to setup tents and S&M, like the champ she is, cowboy camped. Apparently the whole crew behind us from today all went to Bucks Lake to stay with a trail angel. I am happy we stayed on trail.
Day: 60
Day Sixty: 1 July 2015
Start: HM 1263.9
End: HM 1284.4 Hwy 70 Braatens in Belden
GPS Point: 40.006965, -121.249470
Day Total: 21.5 miles
Water at mile 1275.2 Clear Creek, mile 1284.4 Caribou Crossroads
I am starting with people because there were a lot of them today. First there were KC and Long Jump this morning. I was surprised to see them as I left camp. Then there was an older man named CK and a couple named Kale and Feral. While on the last stretch down the switchbacks into town were a couple named Side Trip and Karina, overnighters from Bucks Lake headed to Belden for the 4th of July festivities. Then in Belden at the resort was Stryker and four or so other PCTers. And at the Caribou Crossroads cafe were Fun Jumper along with Sherpa and Cho Cho. More people are listed below.
Today I saw a bear cub! It was a light orange-brown baby bear. I came around a corner passing Clear Creek Springs, en route to the further Clear Creek, and heard a loud branch snapping. In the two paces it took to stop, I looked over and discovered the cub had climbed three feet up a tall tree stump. The rest of the tree fallen to the ground, the cover that masked the cub from my sight. We had scared each other. It was less than ten feet from me. I wish I had my camera at the ready, in my hand. However, I did not. Instead of capturing that moment eternally on digital film, I hiked on as fast as I possibly could. Baby bears mean a large, protective mother bear is likely nearby. A great sighting and a little scary all at the same time.
I bought a Gatorade and Butterfingers at Belden while hanging out in the bar waiting. There were five other PCTers hanging out, but I didn’t try to make conversation with them. Endless and I headed to the road to grab a hitch over to Caribou Crossroads. S&M came up right behind us. We hitched from Belden to Caribou with guy who had a friendly dog named Ruckus. At the cafe in the Caribou Crossroads RV Park, I ate a huge strawberry milkshake, fries, and Diablo burger. We hung out for a few hours and did laundry while working on plans for the 4th and satiating our media addictions. While considering options for Independence Day, we discovered it may not be as simple as we thought. Everything within hiking distance was completely booked out. There is a huge music festival in Quincy this weekend, as well as the fact that everyone from the big cities head to Lassen State Park and Mt. Shasta for the fourth. So basically things were booked solid for us to be making plans so close to the weekend.
After the cafe finally kicked us out, we walked the quarter mile to the Braatens’ Little Haven. After clean laundry at the RV Park, we had showers at the Braatens! Mostly we just hung out. There were many more other hikers: Legs, Rebo, Courage (young Japanese guy), Runner, Pasta, and CK, as well as Sherpa and Cho Cho. For supper I ate popcorn, Mike n Ike’s, and Captain Crunch cereal. Supper of champions!
Day: 61
Hikers to Sacramento.
Day Sixty-one: 2 July 2015
Start: HM 1284.4
End: HM 1284.4
GPS Point: 38.67077, -121.30634
Day Total: ZERO miles
Water at faucets everywhere.
So last night we basically decided that we wanted to completely leave trail for the fourth or we wanted to forget the holiday and just hike through. None of us had ever hitch hiked to a place before, at least beyond a quick ride or from a trail setting, so we opted for the adventure. Since everyone from the cities head to the trail for the fourth, we decided to head to the city. Our goal: Sacramento. S&M called her friend Liza this morning and she is graciously taking us in for the weekend. How awesome is she?! S&M is the lady of the day! And her friends are the best!
Brenda Braaten gave us a ride to the Belden rest stop and bud us fair well. She genuinely laughed a maniacal laugh as she drove away, at the thought of us actually making it into Sacramento today. I was more optimistic. Our first prospect was a guy named Johnny-O who tried to convince us to go to Quincy for the music festival. He had connections and thought he could get us an orchard to camp at and volunteer options for getting tickets. Despite the generous offer, we weren’t really interested in taking a break from trail to continue to camp and do work. Though I am sure the festival would be a blast. After maybe thirty minutes of waiting we caught a ride with Darlene and Gary (the names are guesses). Gary listened to Tupac and Darlene has had an assortment of crazy pets from Ravens to an owl to a current baby skunk. They were really awesome and very interesting people. Gary dropped us off in Chico, CA. We went to Beatniks Cafe and I ate a delicious giant salad. Finally a party of greenery on my tongue! We went back to the on ramp and were very quickly picked up by Chris and Eric. They called themselves modern day hippies from Miami. We were trying to explain how trail names work and Eric said he would take the name Robert hahaha! So they became E-Money and Robert. E-Money drives everywhere and they frequently pick up hitch hikers. I could say a lot about this hitch, but let’s just say the guys were cool, the ride was interesting, and we got very philosophical. What a treat to make it  from Belden to Sacramento in two easy hitches! Chris knows a lot about vehicles and called the specs on a Ford Raptor. The passengers were two old men. Chris got them to step on the gas and show us the go power capabilities of that monster. Chris and Eric then discussed the potential for Eric’s truck, which has more horse power. They dropped us off right in downtown Sacramento.
Once in the city, all before 2 PM I add, the rest of the day was ours. We wondered around briefly and then headed to the Naked Lounge Coffee House by the Capitol. Like all hikers, we chose to spend our time glued to the tiny smart devices that suddenly had access to both power and reception. Liza is a nurse in south Sacramento and actually picked us up on her way home. Liza and Angie actually live in Fair Oaks and we would have had to take the bus back otherwise.
A stop at the grocery to pick up snacks and more trail food happened before heading home. We arrived to find Angie preparing supper. She whipped together a fantastic spaghetti supper that we thought was amazing and she thought was a barely acceptable throw-together since not completely homemade. Angie is an amazing cook! We spent the rest of the night chatting, swimming, relaxing, and reveling in being off trail. After staying up too late, we found nooks on the the various couches and passed out.
Day: 62
A day in NorCal Sac Town.
Day Sixty-two: 3 July 2015
Start: HM 1284.4
End: HM 1284.4
GPS Point: 38.67077, -121.30634
Day Total: ZERO miles
Water at faucets everywhere.
We all slept in today. I always sleep in but so did Endless and S&M for once. It was luxurious! Liza was already gone to work, I saw her leave around 6 AM, and Angie was in the kitchen clinking around and working on food for tonight’s supper. I went and ate some fruit and yoghurt I had picked up for breakfast. Then I helped clean the outside patio with S&M while Endless read us Sea Wolf. Angie made pancakes and eggs while we were tortured with the smells of a baking fruit pie. We ate casually and spent most of the time on our smart devices. Oh the ways of the media deprived…
After lunch, Angie drive us to downtown. S&M and I bought the same pair of Lone Peak Altras. She wore hers the rest of the day and was in shoe heaven. I like the upgrades from my 1.5’s to the newest 2.5’s. I hope these last longer than my last pair! Then we stopped at a cafe to decide the rest of our activities. With the lazy morning, we had limited time. We made a PO stop on the way to Old Town Sacramento. Old Town is a rustic looking area with saloons, touristy shops, and more. It was a pretty neat area. In an antique store, I found a dark blue base with a gold etched bird. It looks exactly like a vase I have that I snagged off my mom. Apparently the thing is from 1949-1950’s Japan, with a hand-etched design. Pretty incredible find! I didn’t buy the match but am glad to know some history. We bussed back to Fair Oaks just in time for a supper party. Angie had a coworker, Sabrina, and Sabrina’s family over with Liza and the three of us. We had beef tips with grilled onions and a superb green sauce (cilantro, vinegar, olive oil, etc.), with sea salt baked potatoes, salad, homemade French bread, and mixed fruit pie and ice cream for dessert. Seriously the best meal I’ve eaten in ages. Definitely the best meal I have eaten on this whole trail. I am going to ruin my desensitized palate with all this good cooking.
Day: 63
Fourth of July!!!
Day Sixty-three: 4 July 2015
Start: HM 1284.4
End: HM 1284.4
GPS Point: 38.67077, -121.30634
Day Total: ZERO miles
Water at faucets everywhere.
Another morning of sleeping in! We finished helping set up for the festivities tonight then had pool time. There was a last minute run to the grocery, where I demanded acquiring s’more fixings. Mostly used today as a chance to finish catching up on my very backed up blog entries. As well as further stuffing my face of course.
People started arriving at 2 PM. Pretty much spent the rest of the day in the pool, relaxing, chatting with Angie’s and Liza’s friends and family, eating copious amounts of food, and completely taking our minds off the trail, except when people would ask questions. Angie had a fantastic self-serve dish called a haystack salad. Sort of like a walking taco but with pecans and coconut shreds too, and not in the Frito bag.
Towards dark, a group went and played kick ball. Then we set off fireworks in the front street. Liza’s family providing the pyrotechnic display. We stayed up way later than any of us wanted to be awake and now needing to get to sleep. Liza’s and Angie’s people were awesome, the food was delicious, and the day was exactly how I wanted this trip to have gone. I am so appreciative of the generosity and kindness of Liza and Angie! They have been superb hosts, and I cannot thank them enough.
Day: 64
My disappointment with Sacramentans.
Day Sixty-four: 5 July 2015
Start: HM 1284.4
End: HM 1284.4
GPS Point: 38.67077, -121.30634
Day Total: ZERO miles
Water at business establishments.
So today we were supposed to get back to Belden, and possibly get some miles in. Angie drove us to downtown where I-5/Hwy 99/Hwy 70 went north. We waited by the on ramp where the Amtrak is. After a bit over an hour, I found us a bus that would take us to an exit further north. We grabbed a coffee before the bus arrived and headed to what we thought would be a better position north of the downtown area. There wasn’t much going on at our new location, but it was as far north as we could have gotten via public transport without paying $30 a person. At that location we had our thumbs out for about 45 minutes before a nice guy named BL picked us up. He was jamming out to Kendrick Lamar and took us up to a more residential shopping area where there would be more traffic heading north. He actually took us to where I originally thought might be a good location. Away from downtown, right by gas stations and stores and a grocery, the highway has shoulders for pulling off, there are pedestrian paths the whole way across. It should have been perfect. But instead, after three hours of standing in the hot sun, we were no closer to our destination. What we did accomplish was three undeserved middle fingers by young males, lots of lane changing away from our standing positions, endless gazes overtly directed away as if we did not exist, and other forms of negative response. Maybe a couple times across our whole day did we have people who genuinely looked like they may help but we’re not in the right circumstance, like a full vehicle or heading the opposite direction. One of those guys actually stopped and gave us cold Capris Suns but he was headed back to the city. Endless voiced my feelings well when he said that we meet all these amazing wonderful people on the trail, no matter their background or reasons for crossing our path. But then you go into a city, a faceless and unimpressive place, nothing particularly great about it, and you meet a lot of hostility, pettiness, selfishness, and greed. Why is that? I want to strongly believe that people are inherently kind, honest, and giving individuals. But I am repeatedly shown otherwise. Not just in my travels from this trip, but drawing on my whole life of experiences. In fact, I have now experienced the guiles of humankind on trail too. While at the Braatens, the morning we hitched to Sacramento, I was packing my bag to find my tarp and bug net missing. Since I had just literally put my belongings away the night before, I knew that was not a good sign. Assuming an error had been made on my part, I went to look for where I had set these items untended. I found them in the pack of a hiker, where I pointed them out and received a response that the pack and items were all his. More forcefully and clearly I stated that my tarp and bug net were half poking out of his pack, upon which he said he found those items and I could of course take them back. At the time I just let the instance pass because I was talking on the phone with my brother, but truly it was a bullshit interaction. He was clearly trying to thieve my possessions as if I had thrown them out or into the hiker box. There are dirtbags everywhere.
Anyways, we finally gave up at some point and Liza came to collect us. We were barely 30 minutes from Liza’s and Angie’s. A bust of a day, but really what does it matter now? Liza is generously offering to drive us back to Belden tomorrow on her day off. No use going through the should have’s and could have’s. We will be back on trail tomorrow and won’t have to hitch at all. Liza and Angie have gone above and beyond on their generosity and kindness to us, the guests who have overstayed the acceptable house guest standards. More reason to express my appreciation.
We went to supper at a Mexican restaurant and then I pretty much headed to bed. Today has been a long day.

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