Location- Sierra City
Elevation- 4,577 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 18.2 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,195.4 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, 70s
Pain level- low
Spirits/Morale- still zen
Days without shower- 1
I woke up and decided to sleep in. I got out of the nest at 7:30 and was hiking by 7:40. After about 10 minutes of warm up walking, I hit a comfortable power stride, and didn’t stop for more than 15 miles. I passed more hikers today than I’ve seen since starting out from Tahoe. I even ran into a hiker that I knew from the AT in 2014; El Queso Grande. I didn’t recognize him at first, but he recognized me. As soon as he told me his name, I recognized/remembered hiking around him back in Pennsylvania for a while. Sadly, he informed me that he was quitting this trail as soon as he got into Sierra City. I asked him why, and he cited that he didn’t much care for this trail. He said he was bored with it, and didn’t want to waste anymore money. Yet another AT hiker dropping out due to missed expectations. I truly do feel for the former AT hikers out here. If you come out to this trail looking for the same experience you had on the AT, you will be sorely disappointed. That being said, the experience is what you make of it. Accept this trail for what it is, and meet its unique challenges.
The trail has become fairly mundane since the High Sierra. You walk through mostly pine and oak forest, every now and then passing through a Meadow, or over a barren ridge. There’s not really a whole lot to distract you, so it’s easy to focus on “just hiking.”
I had over 15 miles before noon, stopped to get water and rest for about 20 mins, then finished up over 3 more miles to the road leading into Sierra City by 1:30. Over 18 miles completed before 2pm, this was a new personal record. I walked the 1.5 miles into town, and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The name Sierra City is very misleading. Maybe when it was founded in the 1800s it could have been a city, but the entire town resides on a very short stretch of road, and looks like something from a time long past.
I walked down to country store, had a cold drink, ordered a 1 pound burger (the gut-buster) and a 3 pound burrito (the really big breedo), then proceeded to put myself in a food coma. I sat around on the front porch and made conversation with the other hikers in town. There were several that I hadn’t seen since very early in the desert, so I was faced with a lot of “where’s Katana?” questions. I had to explain what happened to her probably 4 times; really not fun for me to continue to have the same conversation about her, answering the same questions over and over, every time I run into someone that recognizes me from when I had her. I won’t blow anyone off, but it really is getting old quick.
I liked the atmosphere here so much, that I decided to stay. I’m cowboy camped on top of a concrete picnic table, next to a church, just down the road from the store; classy.
I’m 120 miles from the halfway monument of this trail. I’m also 4 days away from my 100th day of this endeavor. I hit the halfway monument of the AT on my 100th day, and I think it would be really cool to do the same out here. That means a 30 mile per day average for the next 4 days. Once again, I’m not promising myself anything, but we’ll see how it plays out. With the miles I’ve been putting up so early in the day, as well as on half days lately, I should have no problem doing it, lest I get distracted on the way…