Mile reached: 1411.3 (+17.8)
High: A lot of small things came together to make for a surprisingly pleasant day.
Low: Having our Cornhole winning streak come to an early end
Times I almost lost hat: Numerous (the wind was out to steal it)
This was another one of those days in which I woke up early to try and beat the heat of the day. Very quickly, I discovered that I was camped much closer to the water cache than I had guessed. Someone was going to the bathroom in the trees about 15 feet away from my camp…
After a short detour over to the water cache, I was back on the trail hoping to finish the exposed section before the sun got too high. It was warm in the morning light but still pleasant due to some shade. There would have been sweeping views of the valley to the west, but smoke from fires down south created a haze obscuring all but the nearest peaks. The lengthy dry stretch was terminated by a reservoir on Hat Creek, and there local fisherman abounded. Taking a quick break to feast upon Cheetos, I met a few that were going to fish right below a little waterfall.
The final few miles to Highway 299 were trivial, though the temperature was definitely picking up. There was some internal debate over whether I should go to the Burney Guest Ranch just off the trail or hitch to the town of Burney itself. I decided on the later, since there would be a better resupply and “Scooter” had gone into town. The guide says it’s a tough hitch, but I got one in about 5 minutes. An older self-described redneck named Less picked me up. He was a Fall River local and his family had been cattle ranching in the area since the 19th century. On this 4th of July he was rather displeased with the lack of freedom, and we continued our conversation in front of the gas station pump for several minutes before finally saying goodbye.
Just as we were pulling into town, I had seen the sign for a local church. “Scooter” had mentioned he was going to stay there, so I popped over. Unfortunately, the office was closed, but as I was leaving I saw a sleeping bag hanging out to dry. A clear sign of hiker trash! So, I found a door open on the gym and a few hikers inside. They explained that the church gives hikers free reign of the gym which has showers, a kitchen, and WiFi. So, I joined them and a bit later “Scooter” returned from his resupply at Dollar General.
I took care of various chores and spent much of the afternoon on a bean bag inside and out of the heat. “Scooter” decided to hitch back to the trail and go to Burney Falls, but I wanted to stay for a BBQ that evening. The BBQ was pretty good, though tragically there wasn’t any beer, it being so family oriented and all. I did get pulled into a Cornhole tournament after Matt’s wife bailed on him when they lost their first match. Together though, we dominated the losers bracket and were just about in the semifinals when we lost by 1 point. Matt made a toss that was sightly too short. Either way we had fun, and I retreated to the gym for the evening.