Location- Sierra City
Distance Traveled Today- zero
Distance Traveled Total-
Weather/Temp- clear and beautiful
Pain level- weak
Days without shower- 0
Somewhat of a strange but interesting day nonetheless.
Last night, near the church, I found a huge concrete picnic table in a beautiful garden that resided in the area designated for hikers. One of the many things the AT taught me is that picnic tables make great beds; flat, level surfaces, off the ground, with little side shelfs (the seats) to set your gear, perfect.
Now it had occurred to me that this garden looked incredibly lush and well watered for residing in a state that gets rain only 5 times a year. I had every intention of checking to see if there was a sprinkler system installed to confirm whether or not some dedicated soul watered everything by hand. Well, I forgot to do my check.
Come about 10:15pm, not quite asleep, I’m alerted by the hiss of sprinklers firing up. My instincts kick in as I instantly go into survival mode; springing out of my sleeping bag and gathering it up to my body to shield it from the evil, goose down destroying water. I snatched up my pack too as I made a painful barefooted sprint to safety, then made a second run back into the garden like a fireman into a burning building and collected the rest of my damp belongings, which only amounted to my shoes, sleeping pads, and a few other little odds and ends that weren’t too water sensitive in the first place.
I found another picnic table in a slightly more exposed area near the church, but safe from the sprinklers and made camp again. No more waterworks for the night.
Waking up this morning, I felt like garbage. I had a ton of pressure behind my face, and my left eye felt like it was swelling shut. On top of that, I felt extremely weak and had diarrhea. Something I forgot to mention yesterday, was that something stung me on the ankle in the late morning. It was probably one of the worst stings I’ve ever had. Not as bad as the wasp on the AT, but very close. This one hurt and throbbed for the rest of the day, not just a few minutes. I never saw what bit me, because I swatted too fast, but my guess would be another wasp, or some kind of really mean ant. Either way, I have no clue if this was linked to that sting.
I packed up all my stuff and walked down to the country store to sit for a while and figure out what to do about my predicament. I wasn’t too keen on stranding myself in the mountains while in a worsening condition; I’d been in that situation before.
As I sat on the front porch of the store, using their WiFi to work on the blog, I heard a car pull up behind me, then a voice ask “Excuse me, do you know where copper lake road is?” I turned around in my seat to see a middle aged Hispanic woman in a new Honda. “I’m sorry ma’am, I’m not from around here” I replied. She spat out the window, “FUCK YOU!”, and sped off down the road. I think my eyebrows raised a little bit before I turned back around to stare at the wall of the country store once again. “People out west sure are friendly,” I thought to myself.
Not too long after that, as other hikers and townsfolk began to get up and move about, an old man in his mid 70s came and sat next to me, reading a newspaper. He started talking about himself, the area, his career, etc, just being friendly. Nevertheless, I had a really strange feeling about him. He kept adjusting and crisping his newspaper and inadvertently brushing my leg with the back of his hand every time. That was my red flag, despite his friendly demeanor and innocent conversation, I knew he was less than a decent person with ulterior motives. It wasn’t long before he started asking me questions; where was I from, did I have a girlfriend, did I drink, was I staying in town, what did I do back home, etc. I answered his questions, but then things got weird. He started telling more stories and sharing his own random opinions about pretty sensitive/inappropriate subjects. He talked about not liking Mexicans, Jews, or Mormons. He talked about how several women in positions of authority in town needed a good f***ing, and a big D**k in their A**, because they were power crazed B***hes. Then he said some very sick things about Mormon girl scouts, along with a handful of other things. I was torn between getting up and leaving, or tossing him in front of the next car that sped by the store.
He began bragging about his native American Heritage, as well as his “beautiful” native American facial features. I wasn’t even looking at him anymore, yet he kept right on talking. One of those people that only needs an ear, and they won’t shut up. “What’s your ethnicity?” He asked me. I turned to him and said “Portuguese.” He frowned as soon as I said it and replied “oh I’m very sorry.” That was the last straw for me. I turned my entire body towards him and said “There was a time when the sun never set on the Portuguese empire; what have the Native Americans done besides be prone to substance abuse and build casinos?” (Disclaimer: I have nothing against Native Americans) I got up and left, but what I really wanted to do was bury that man on the side of one of these mountains (A little harsh? You weren’t there). I have no doubt in my mind that he’s doing/has done some bad things, or will do them if the opportunity presents itself. It is beyond me who he thought he was talking to. Some people truly have no place in this world, and after hearing some of the things this man said (trust me, I spared a lot of details), I’m convinced he’s one of them. Maybe at one point in time he was a valued member of society, as well as a decent human being, but that time had been outlived.
Good grief California, you sure do grow an abundance of assholes and sickos, along with a lot of garlic, strawberries, and artichokes. The best weather in the country, yet so many pissed off, abnormal people. They need some more rainy days so they can better appreciate their sunny and 75; 360 days a year. I digress.
I went down the road to a restaurant/lodge, booked a room, and collapsed in the bed. No AC, no WiFi, no tv; bare bones. I passed out before 9 am, and didn’t wake up until almost evening. I felt a little groggy, but 100% better. I don’t know what was ailing me, but the worst of it was gone. No more pressure in my face, and my eye felt better too.
I walked down the road to a restaurant called Harrington’s to have dinner. It was a quarter mile past everything else in town, in an area I hadn’t explored yet; an area that no hikers had really explored for that matter, since everything they needed was centralized closer to the trail. All the other businesses (2 of them) were closed, so I made my way down to Harrington’s, not really knowing what to expect. What a hidden gem!
Harrington’s was a fancy little upscale restaurant/lodge that seemed totally out of place, yet right where it belonged at the same time. In front was a trout pond filled with thousands of rainbow trout in the 20+ inch category, they were huge! Between the hours of 10am and 1pm, you could catch your own trout, then have it cooked up by the restaurant. What an awesome business model. In a busier location, this place would have more customers than they’d know what to do with.
I didn’t get to catch my own trout dinner, but I did enjoy some fabulous roasted New Zealand lamb. The menu was a bit pricey, but the portions were huge, and the taste exquisite! This was exactly the kind of place that I love to find in a tiny mountain town that’s over 150 years old; truly an unforgettable hidden gem.
I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep away from sprinklers, miserable people, and perverts. Hopefully I’ll get an early start and make up for some of this lost (not wasted) time.