Day 62: The Trail Less Traveled

Mile reached: 1205.0 (+9.6)

High: Having a camera again and being able to take photos in the evening twilight.

Low: The WiFi in town was basically unusable.

Days without snow: 1

Observation: Since the start, the majority of thru-hikers have been men, but the split was maybe 70/30. However, I realized that I have only seen one female NoBo since Tahoe. It’s possible this is due to my pace and not attrition though.

Planning on effectively zeroing for the day, I didn’t get up until the intensity of the rising sun forced me. At that point, I opened up my stuffed and moved down to the public picnic bench in front of the restrooms. It was actually nicer than it sounds, because there were some trees and flowers. Since there was a shower albeit filthy, it was an area at which hikers naturally collected.

The Sierra Country Store
Changing if the guard, this time a bit sooner!

Before long “Puma” and crew showed up in town. “Smoke Break” in particular hung out with me for while. I had met him a day out of Tahoe when I was going a little faster on the trail. He let me pass, and not wanting to be that guy that passed but wasn’t really going faster I started to trail run. A minute or two later, I noticed that he was still on my tail. After minutes more of this, I offered to let him pass if he thought he were going faster to which he replied he was just messing with me.

People kept talking about how they wanted to go to the library, and eventually we noticed that no one that had gone to the library had returned. So, by early afternoon I wandered down the highway in search of it. It turned out that the internet was almost useable, a significant improvement over the general store.

By afternoon hikers started hitching rides back to the trail. It would be an exposed 3,000 foot climb up the Sierra Buttes in the hot sun, so I put it off until evening. Of course, by the time I wanted to hitch there were no cars to be found going east. Just 15 minutes before there was one almost every 5 minutes. But as soon as I started walking a local in a truck saw me and let me ride up in the bed.

The climb up was surprisingly beautiful and not hot at all. Doing it in the evening definitely worked out. Just around on the north side of the Buttes I had to make a decision. The PCTA this year rerouted the trail and decommissioned the old one. Idiotically, the new trail adds some miles and 1,200 feet of gain. So, I opted to take the old trail, which ran along a ridge and had gorgeous views. This was definitely a case of the PCTA trying to fix something that wasn’t broken. I think the objection was that there was one stretch where the trail was steeper than their standard. Anyway, I found a beautiful perch on the middle of the ridge and camped. I was only disturbed by deer stomping through woods all night, but I guess that meant there wouldn’t be bear.

The ridge along which the old PCT is routed
Did I mention that the evening is beautiful?

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