Mile reached: 1249.7 (+44.7)
High: Trail magic!
Low: When my hiking buzz wore off, I actually had to think about hiking again.
Days without snow: 2
Ferocious bears: 0
Giant raccoons: 1
I’m not sure why, but I started the day early. The old PCT was awesome, and I could see the valley though which the new trail was routed. It’s hard to believe that the views down there in any way compared to the open vistas of the Sierra Buttes. The trail was a little tricky to follow, because it’s no longer signed. But, I made it work.
With the changing scenery, water also became a problem. Dry stretches began to emerge and fewer creeks crossed the trail. I actually had to hike hundreds of feet off trail to springs several times.
Just a little after lunch, I was lost thinking about whatever I think about on the trail when I heard tromping in the bushes. Before I knew it, there was this giant ball of fuzz running at a full gallop down the hillside. A cinnamon black bear had been startled and moved as fast as possible to get out of sight.
I’d been feeling good, and thought I’d do a big day. But, fate was conspiring against me. A little bit later, I came upon a paved road and stopped for a moment to figure out where to go and how far to the next water. From a turnout a few feet away I heard someone call out, “Do you want a beer?” There was obviously only one answer to that, and he confirmed that he’d never been turned down. Not only did they have beer, but it was Sierra Nevada pale ale! Turns out that they were two locals that decided they’d take the day off and were looking to find some “trail walkers.” They were a lot of fun, though one of them was completely full of shit. Allegedly, he was Native American from the same tribe as Daniel Day-Lewis in the Last of the Mohicans. I think the irony that the character was the LAST of the Mohicans was lost on him.
Though, I was caught a little off guard when they asked me, “Are you ready for your next one?” They kept handing me beer, so I drank more than intended. However, the joke was that I’d need to drive them back to town (apparently the fact that I didn’t have a license wouldn’t be a problem for the sheriff). Finally, I told them I still needed to push miles, we parted ways, and I stumbled down the road to find the trail.
The afternoon was fun as I wobbled down the trail. The miles just flew by! Unfortunately, the trail drops thousands of feet down to the Middle Fork of the Feather River, and I had sobered up by then. Nevertheless, I still did enjoy the evening descent and camping in the bank if the river. Strangely, there were these bioluminescent flies that harassed me through the night. I’m sure I ate a few, so hopefully they weren’t toxic.