Mile 1187.0 to mile 1195.4. (8.4 miles, 13.5km)
Plus 1.4 into Sierra City (too short to bother trying to hitch)
I had the worst, restless nights sleep last night. Surrounding the camp area where we stayed the pine needles and branches are thick so that anything that moves off the hardened surface of the trail or the camp area makes a huge racket. Around 10pm a couple of hikers roll into camp shinning head torches all over the place (tent material is not thick), trampling all over, snapping twigs and making a huge noise. Then they decide to set up. I swear they deliberately had everything packed in the most crinkliest plastic bags known to man.
Then all through the night the sounds of large animals moving around and through the camp, very close to tents. My immediate thought is a bear. When I hear footsteps around 20m from my tent I grab my head torch and shine it out into the darkness to pick up the red eyes and large body…. of a deer. Phew! Not a bear. Relax and try to go back to sleep.
It seems the deer here like licking up the salt from hikers wee. Through the night you can hear the sounds of tent flys opening, people’s footsteps crunching the ground as they head out for a leak; tent fly closing again and then a rush of deer hooves breaking sticks to locate a fresh batch of number ones and get stuck in. Whatever you fancy I guess.
With lack of sleep I slept in by hiker standards not waking until 6am. Excited for some town food I was on the move within half an hour.
It was an easy mornings walk into Sierra City, a one street, sleepy town with not much happening.
The gathering point for hikers is the Sierra City Country Store. It seems to be only place open, with many stores closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
A line of hikers fill the seats out the front of the store. Packs and trekking poles lining the side of the building. Everyone in grubby clothes and filthy legs. Most dark and tanned (unfortunately not me). Trail runners and Dirty Girl Gaiters form part of the uniform. All wearing smiles. Many with faces planted into mobile devices as they locate the wifi password.
We are patiently waiting for the slow service but very tasting burgers and milkshakes from the store.
Many hikers are diving into resupply boxes, remembering what they had sent themselves, sorting out what will stay and what they are sick of, throwing into the hiker box for others to have. The hikers on a tight budget hover like vultures around the hiker box, watching and diving in to grab the discarded food items before someone else does.
My Gut Buster burger and chocolate shake come out. A hearty meal that will fuel me all day until dinner. One of the best shakes I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking.
I sent myself a box of food a few weeks back. It is possible to buy a full resupply from the store but it has a limited selection and is well overpriced. That is fine. You expect that in such a small town. I will go through my box later and supplement food items from the store.
First I had to locate my box in amongst the hundred other boxes there. It wasn’t like the post office where they find your box for you. It was a case of having to sort through the boxes yourself. Huge piles had to be shifted and gone through one by one to find mine. I’m fine with this but gee it places so much trust in everyone doing the right thing. It was clear from the brands on the sides of boxes that hikers had sent themselves new packs, walking poles, shoes etc… There was little control and no system at all for storing in an easy to find way. Anyone could walk in and walk out with a box. The store didn’t even want to see ID to ensure that I grabbed only my box. It’s great that they even accept so many resupply boxes to begin with but I would have liked to have seen more controls in place. Anyway my box is there unmolested and all is well. Another 6 days of food.
I’ve found a great place to stay for the night at the Buttes Resort that has small cabins with a bathroom and kitchenette for $100. Very cute little cabins. I can picture myself building something like this in the wilds and living contently. Most hikers will camp for free in the local church yard tonight with cold showers if they can brave it. Hot (and cold) water on tap for me tonight. Although no laundry so it looks like I’ll have a very long shower to wash clothes as well.
An awesome deck with a perfect view. Some wildfire smoke haze about.
It’s Triple T day at a restaurant and bar across the road – Tunes and Tacos on Tuesday. Looking forward to that.