Saturday, July 5, 2008
Happy birthday Chels!! We were up early and hiked the 3.5 miles in no time, caught a ride into Sierra City within minutes and found where the hikers were in town minutes after that! 2 nice ladies had rented out an apartment above a restaurant in town (view of town from apt above) and were letting hikers stay with them! We showered, did laundry and were eating breakfast all by 9am! I called Chels (her b-day) and Gram Peg (to have her NOT mail out a package of ours) and made some muffins for breakfast. The hikers were coming in and figuring things out (the next 138.2 miles of trail are basically closed due to forest fires) So, most are hitching rides up to Chester and continuing north on the PCT, a few are walking random roads to get to Chester so they can say that they did walk from Mexico to Canada....we are already missing those 39 miles back in Idyllwild, so we'll just add these miles to the missed section and keep going north on the trail that is open. Around 4pm, we decided that instead of hanging out in this town, we would head to/try to get to Chester (pretty far by car from here), so we made a sign and stuck out our thumbs and smiled :) Our first ride was to Barretts in the back of a pickup with 2 people going biking (we were with the bikes, picture of Buttes that we'll missing hiking near in picture above), our second ride was to Graeagle with a nice couple that wasn't even going there, but went out of their way for us (thank you again Micheal, Pamela and Pippin (the pup))! As we were walking out of the festival traffic of Graeagle, a young lady on her way to Quincy drove by and picked us up! Wow, we were rolling now! She left us in Quincy (where there was a massive 4th of July 4 day music festival going on) 6pm now, we were starting to think about where we were going to spend the night when Carol and Chris walked up to us (and Chris was wearing a PCT hat!!!) and they offered us their house for the night (they were going to the festival) Wow! So, the owner of the gas station gave us a lift up the road close to their house! Wasa is here also (they found him in town earlier) and I've been on this laptop for hours updating this blog! Wasa just made some homemade gingerbread, Neighbor is sleeping on the floor and I'm about ready to do the same, what a day! Chris and Carol have offered to give us a ride to Chester tomorrow, so we'll officially be at mile 1335.8 and walk north from there. All of our maps/info are at the PO in Chester, so we might have to wait until Monday morning to actually start the walking north process, but we'll be in the right town to do it! So, 3.5 miles of walking and 5 different rides have brought us to Quincy. The smoke is thick in the air and it doesn't look like it's getting better anytime soon, so hopefully north of Chester will be better. 2008, the year of the fire......or is it always like this out here?!
Slept great with the 2 benedryl I took last night for the poison oak that is now more than one spot on my leg! Smoke had cleared a bit by the morning, sleeping bags were a bit damp from the moisture (we were near a creek/meadow/wetland area) Hiking by 6am, today was going to be a big mileage day because yesterday was not! Lots of downhill to start the day (fine by me) We hiked 15 miles by noon and went over these 2 bald mountains and the wind was pretty intense, pushing me around a bit. Had lunch around 1:30, more PB (and jelly this time) and a bag of smartfood popcorn that I carried out of Soda Springs the day before. Hiked the ridge above a reservoir and could hear families below boating, swimming, camping, doing 4th of July family together things and you remember home, if we had not hiked past that area, it would have been just another day in the woods to us. Still lots of smoke in the air (but today I convinced myself it was a BBQ!!) Hiked all but 3.5 miles into Sierra city (which was somewhere around 30.5 miles for the day) and cooked up some dinner, no mosquitoes, but a few no-see-ums were out and biting.
Beautiful sunrise, hiking by 0545, 4 miles to Tinker Knob and we could see I-80 from there. Wandered the ridge for a bit in the open breeze, as we got closer to Donner Pass there were lots of day hikers! Made it to the road for 1030 and caught a ride the 3.5 miles down to Soda Springs where there was a little country store and DELI! We each had a sub and soda and little snack and I bought a couple snacks for the trail and then we caught another ride back up the hill and were hiking north again by 1230! Perfect! 4 more miles and we crossed under I-80 (for those of you following us on the AAA map) Walked past a rest stop and stopped in for some water and the use of the bathroom for a bit. (today was a lazy day) Then we hiked on about 5 more miles and came to the Peter Grubb Ski hut (2 story camp that hikers can stay in) it was soo nice, we decided to stay! Lots of hikers here, Irish who we hadn't seen in quite some time and Brit who remembered us from Gorham, NH last year when I gave him a ride to the store from Hiker's Paradise (small world) It was only 4:30, but we called it a day and decided to tent outside the hut (kinda dark inside) well, the smoke from the forest fires was soo thick, we almost changed our minds! Taking a deep breath is just not an option.
Up with the mosquitoes, walking fast, hiked to Barker Pass, took a break there. JZ saw 5 bears this morning! Yikes, that makes you think when you are sleeping with your food as a pillow! :) Walked 5 more miles and the Tahoe Rim trail and PCT trails finally split (we hiked about 39 miles on the TRT) Could see Lake Tahoe from the trail, it's a massive lake! Then we got to walk a great ridge with a wonderful breeze and no mosquitoes for about 5 miles! Eventually hiked 27 miles and camped near Granite Chief Mtn (which is part of Squaw Valley ski resort) Amazing camp spot with a great sunset and sunrise! Heard today that the trail might be closed up ahead due to forest fires....
Stomach felt ill all night, too much food! It was an all you can eat and I did just that! Jumped in Gordon's van by 7:30 and he gave us a ride back up to the trail at Echo Lake. Nimblewill is having some trouble with his foot and isn't hiking for a few days, but he'll be back on the trail in no time. Saw Chief come into Echo Lake as we were leaving, always good to see him. More easy walking, this section of the trail is also part of the Tahoe Rim Trail (100 ish mile trail that goes around Lake Tahoe) but lots of the trail is actually crushed rock, so you feel like you are at a park or something. Tons of hikers out and about. Walked past Aloha Lake, beautiful lake after lake in this area. Over Dick's Pass and down into a lowland section where the mosquitoes thrive and came out in full force around 5pm. Called it quits around 6pm, I had to put the head net on while cooking dinner. Oh, we mailed our bear cannisters back from South Lake Tahoe! And I got a letter from Gram and papa and I finally got postcard stamps! So, no more heavy awkward cannisters to tote around with us.....instead, the food comes in the tent with us, which felt a little weird after having our food in a safe zone for so many miles, but that's that!
Good night's sleep in a bed and with a big fluffy pillow! Thrust, JZ, Cruising, Neighbor and I went to Ihop for breakfast (nothing fancy, but it was good) Did our laundry, picked up a cheese pizza for lunch and walked half way back to the motel, saw Lake Tahoe (blue beautiful water, like the Carribean) Gave up on the walking and finally caught a bus back to the motel. I found a Nestle Tollhouse Cafe! What a great little place! We realized that this massive mosquito bite on the back of my leg might actually be poison oak! So, I put some prescription cream (that I've been carrying since Mexico) on it. Made a few phone calls and a bunch of us (the crew, plus Antfarm and Swiffer) all went to the All you can eat buffet in the next town over (which was technically in Nevada...wow, a new state!!) I felt ill afterwards as we waddled back to the room.
More cereal for breakfast, 11 miles to Carson Pass and were there by 1030, the rangers had a box of clementines out for the hikers.....yumm! Hiked over Elephant's back (little snow on the trail still) Stopped at Shower Lake for lunch with "the crew" Rolling meadows, easy walking and we were not sure if we'd make it all the way to Echo lake, but it was looking good at this point! As we got closer to the road, Neighbor came upon this little pup howling in the woods, the little guy was lost and followed us to the parking lot! He had a couple phone numbers on his tag, so Slider called one and a lady came and picked little Kabyah up! Only 2 miles from the Echo Lake PO/store, but it was going to close soon, so I gave Shirley my license and a note and she was able to get our packages for us! Nice! Now, all of us at Echo Lake piled into the 2 vehicles (Shirley's car and Gordon's van) and went down to South Lake Tahoe (big spread out city) We got a room for the night, grabbed some dinner and went in the hot tub! What a day and we hiked about 26 or 27 miles! Care packages from Gram and Grampa (homemade molasses cookies and some bars!) Pilgrim (get this 4 CANS of Moxie!, some Trader Joe's ginger chews, trail mix and mango slices, toblerone, Jambalaya and some other fun trail foods) Priscilla (freeze dried meals, cookies, ghiradelli, spices, green tortillas.....hope they were green when you mailed them! and some other treats)
Skipped the cereal this morning, too many mosquitoes! Uphill right away and we are off! Beautiful terrain, canyons and meadows. About 7 miles in the "crew" met their support team. (Graybeard's wife is meeting him at road crossings so he doesn't have to carry a full load) And Nimblewill Nomad is being supported by Gordon in "the van" but Nimblewill is not hiking right now due to an infected foot (which he is pretty upset about, but he'll be back in the trail in no time) Slider, JZ and Thrust were hiking with Nimblewill until the foot issue, but they are still meeting up at roads until Nimblewill gets back on the trail. Anyway, we hiked the short side trail to the parking lot and ate our cereal there this day. Back on the trail, lots of hikers out and about (it's a Saturday) More PB and oreo's for lunch (love this diet) We had hiked 24 miles by 4pm, so we camped with the crew near a parking lot and they let us in on their dinner, so for $5 each, we had Chop Suey, green beans and hot dogs for dinner....on the trail! Nice!
Hank whipped us up some hot tea/coffee for breakfast, we ate some cereal and started hiking around 7am. Little more snow to walk over, but easy going for the most part. We had hiked 14 miles by noon, enjoyed a PB sandwich, some Mollie brownies and were on our way! Around 3:30, the sky darkened again and we thought we were in for it, but it only sprinkled a little (lucky us) Today was the first day in a long time that we didn't have to take the shoes off for even one river crossing! Yeah! Neighbor wore shorts today (2nd time on the trip) and I rolled my pants up a bit (it's hot) Stopped early, but we had hiked close to 25 miles, so that's good enough. Neighbor did a little sewing job on my backpack (it was starting to tear at the shoulder strap and we wanted to fix it before it came out completely) Mosquitoes were a little rough, but I just jumped in the tent!
What a great town Bridgeport was. After I finished updating our blog, Mollie cooked us up some fried egg and cheese sandwiches and we enjoyed the great brownies she made! Then it was time to go, Mollie gave us a to-go baggie of brownies (thanks again!!) We checked back in at the Post Office for post card stamps (no stamps, so I carried the Yosemite postcards another 75 miles.....) and walked past the laundromat where we saw Slider, Thrust, Cruising, JZ, and Graybeard, they remarked on how clean and refreshed we looked, so we told them how we had just met the nicest couple and they all wondered if they could get showers too......so, off they went! (Sorry Mollie if we had your house invaded by stinky hikers that day, but it was definitely appreciated by one and all) Then it was off to Buster's Market to buy some food for the next 75 mile stretch. That is a pricey little market and we found it cheapest to resupply with candy bars! (fine by me!!) And the only bread product we could find was a loaf of bread! That was wonderful in the bear cannister! So, candy bars and a loaf of white bread and PB for the next stretch! Yummy! We hitched for a ridge outside of Busters and saw a lady in a green Subaru outback drive by with NH plates! small world, got a ride to the Sonora Pass junction with a local man and then the sky darkened and it started pouring like mad! Yikes! He told us how there have been lots of dry lightening fires lately (no rain, just lightening!) Luckily the rain slowed as he dropped us off and we were picked back up again in no time by a young lady on the way to her dad's 60th b-day party. So, back at Sonora Pass, we ran into Hank who was doing a little trail magic for a couple days, we hung out with him for the evening. He said it hailed up there earlier when it was pouring in the valley below! Crazy weather. Thrust, JZ, Slider, Graybeard and his wife Shirley, Nimblewill Nomad and Gordon all showed up and camped there at the pass that evening.