July 16, 2017: Hiked Miles 1315.5 to 1328.8 (13.3 total)
Today started off pretty normal. Until I went to eat breakfast and found that ants had got into my food bag. They chewed a hole through the food bag somehow and got into my ziplock bag of jelly bellys and hot tamales that probably weighs almost a pound and that I haven’t ate any of but have been carrying around for a week with me for some reason. I guess I just wasn’t meant to eat them. Luckily that’s all they got into and we were still able to eat breakfast and move on with our day.
The hiking was so easy today, it didn’t even feel like hiking. We climbed almost four miles up to the peak of the mountain and had a great view of Lassen.
And had a pretty view to the south-east of us.
Halfway done! Other than the small section we have to go back and do at the end of course. I wish that I could say I felt some great sense of accomplishment, but really it just felt like any other day hiking. Colton can’t believe that we have to hike that same distance all over again, but now that hiking is our life, hiking another 1325 miles just seems normal. From the very beginning I have focused on small stretches of the trail. Each town or section between resupply points is all I focus on and I don’t really think about how much farther we have to go. I think this helps because a lot of people get overwhelmed thinking about the large amount of mileage they still have ahead of them and just give up. It’s all about perspective out here.
We had fun taking pictures at the monument.
Everyone gets excited about hiking downhill, but I don’t know why. Downhills are so boring! Give me a good steady climb any day over a monotonous downhill. But I guess when you’re climbing mountains every day, you can’t have one without the other.
We were just lolly-gagging along when all the sudden Colton stopped suddenly and what do we see up ahead, but a little brown cub. Look close behind the tree to see it:
Bears are usually harmless unless you scare them or get in between a mom and her cub. So the last thing we wanted to do was walk down the trail and have mom see us from below and attack thinking we were threatening her cub.
We waited a few minutes and then walked by and everything was fine. Third bear on the trail we’ve seen!
We made our way down to a marshy meadow.
And then finally out to Highway 36. Right as we were approaching the highway, a car was dropping off hikers, so the lady gave us and another hiker a ride into town. She dropped us off at Holiday Market where we grabbed a couple snacks and then hitchhiked out to North Shore Campground at Lake Almanor.
We celebrated our halfway mark on the trail by relaxing next to the lake all afternoon.
We even saw a smoke column pop up and got to watch a copter drop on it.
Once we had fried our bodies enough we hitchhiked back into town and walked over to the library. They were closed, but the Wi-Fi still worked on the porch so we sat there for awhile so I could update my blog and Colton could watch every YouTube video ever.
After Colton’s stomach wouldn’t stop grumbling, we walked downtown to get some dinner. He got a burger, fries, and milkshake from the Pine Shack Frosty, and I walked across the street to the Burger Depot and got a crispy chicken salad, fries, and a lemonade. The inside had a cool railroad theme going on.
The owner was taking orders and when I walked up he said “We’ve got ourselves a PCT hiker.” To which I said, “Was it the smell or dirt that gave it away?” But he said, “Neither, it’s your ziplock bag wallet.” Touche.
He asked if I was staying at the church down the street which lets hikers camp behind it for free and I told him I was. He said that his wife bakes homemade cookies that they sell in his restaurant to pay for the portapotty that is available for hikers at the church. I just love how people in small towns are always helping others out. Especially those they don’t even know like us hikers.
I got my food and went back to eat with Colton who stuffed himself silly in about two minutes as always.
We walked down to the church and found a couple other hikers already there along with an outlet to charge our phones, a hiker box with lots of food, free WiFi, a water spigot, the portapotty, a trashcan, and lots of room to camp.
We set up, charged our stuff, found some oatmeal, potatoes, bars, and Mio in the hiker box, and even found some badminton rackets to play with. We entertained ourselves with how bad we were at badminton until we couldn’t laugh any longer and then finally crawled in our tent to read and blog and couldn’t believe it was already 9:00. The post office doesn’t open until 8:30 tomorrow so Colton is excited to sleep in. But I’m pretty sure we’ll both be awake by 6:00. Hopefully they have donuts somewhere in this town that early.