Miles hiked this section: 23
PCT hiked so far: mile 2660 – 1261
Total miles hiked so far including blue blazing etc: 1389 ish
As traffic grows lighter on the PCT, drama picks up. This week our growing team of SOBOs will meditate on: an alleged killer, using the PCT in Cali to avoid authorities, now shot dead by said authorities; 2 people found burned by Buck’s Lake two days before we walk by there – one still alive with a knife wound to the neck – the other dead; a dead squirrel we find on trail missing maybe only it’s brain; a case of plague reported in Yosemite where we will be in 2 weeks; 3 firefighters killed in Washington where huge wildfires have closed sections of trail and threatened several communities; plus sightings of a rattlesnake and a bear on trail!
Following a 44 mile day we take most of today off in Belden, a small resort town with a Wild West bar/restaurant and little else. Seemingly there is no law here, as Belden proudly flaunts wild raves and middle aged Hells Angel parties. The wifi is down today because some beer delivery van ran into the satellite dish so we enjoy a day off with no distraction other than relaxation.
I type my journal, we swim in the Feather River, eat town food, junk food resupply at the convenience store, and nap on the lawn. Around 5pm we rally to leave. Because we are still wiped out we attempt to hitch to Reno, for a day off vacation. We fail after an hour of trying and hike on, 4 miles switchbacking up the steep river gorge before passing out.
We awake to immediately continue the climb for several more miles. Sunrises never get old although I see them almost every day now.
Around 11am we all plug in music and hike along. Headphones in, I come upon Groucho stopped dead in his tracks. I take an earbud out and hear him singing Sanskrit. Wildlife is the only reason Groucho ever pauses hiking so I join in. Eventually he tells me he rounded this bend and came within 5 feet of a big dog that turned out to be a bear. The bear panicked seeing Groucho’s brolly and ran down the hill.
We meet Huck at the bucks lake road for a lengthy lunch break. We could hitch to Quincy here or tomorrow evening at another road crossing in 30 miles. We all just want to be in Reno – or any town – but we decide to get miles in and hitch tomorrow like good thru hikers. We are finding it difficult to be in the present. Then, a cyclist rolls up the road – Taro – who thru hiked the AT back in the 90’s and also hiked the PCT the same year as Cheryl Strayed the author of Wild. Taro suggests this road is a much easier hitch than the one tomorrow. And the proves it by driving us to town and back in his nearby car. We are delivered straight to the natural food coop where I delight in fresh strawberries, carrots, banana, hummus and vow to avoid any more junk food resupply. My energy and spirits have been erratic of late and as I enjoy real nutrition my spirits balance out. Taro’s dog Pocket finishes his play date in he park and we are back to the trail by 6pm. We hike an hour and then Groucho teaches hiker yoga… Huck’s first class.