Camping: Sierra City off PCT mile 1197.50
With a fairly easy walk ahead of us, we took our time waking up and leaving camp. Then visions of town food started dancing in our heads, and we made our way eagerly up the trail. The terrain was gentle, not over doing it in the up or down department, making for a pretty fast pace. I was third out of camp, and didn’t run across any of my friends until CrackerJack came bouncing down the trail 7 miles out. We opted for a shortcut into town that only skipped .1 mile, but offered up a swimming hole and a shorter distance of road walking. We passed so many trees we haven’t seen before: Douglas Fir (small ones), Incense Cedar, Dogwood and even thimble berries, which we ate excitedly. We meandered through a campground, passing families with their camps all set up – people everywhere. It always amazes me the amount of luxury present in car camping these days, as we are so used to surviving on the bare minimum. The tents are so big I think they would take up my whole pack!
Stopping at the swimming hole was a no brainer, and as we began to clean up, Pockets caught up with us. We all bathed in the cool water before walking the next 2 miles into town. We arrived in Sierra City at about noon and secured our packs down at the Red Moose Inn. We had heard they are trail angels, and we could camp there for free, pay for a shower, use wi-fi, and get breakfast. It seemed closed when we got there, but a man popped out to tell us that the only rule is to not drink alcohol bought elsewhere on the premises. We accepted this condition and made our way to the store to investigate a gut buster burger we had heard tales about. It was a 1 pound burger with all of the fixings, and I could barely pick it up, let alone get my mouth around it for a bite. Somehow, ten minutes later, the juicy mess had disappeared and I didn’t even feel full. I guess I had a calorie deficit to make up for after our big miles the day before.
I then made my way back to the Red Moose Inn to get a shower in and set up my tent. I had a package waiting there from my friend Elaine. It had my favorite snack of Trader Joe’s peanut butter filled pretzels, some socks and chocolate. Thank you Elaine! You have no idea how nice it is to receive a thoughtful package, and how eagerly I tore through those pretzels!
Hikers began showing up in what seemed like droves, one after the other, filling up the tiny town. It is one of my favorite parts of being in town, seeing hikers coming together in all of their glory; dirty from the trail, cleaning up and putting on town clothes. It is a great part of the experience. We all ended up at the bar eating tri tip, listening to the jukebox, dancing, laughing and being merry in general. There were so many of us, and everyone was having a great time…the locals enjoying the show as we flung our bodies around the dance floor with no shame. The fact that the power went out only stopped the music, but we stayed a while longer chatting with the locals and each other before heading back to camp in the pitch black and sleepy town.
I crawled into my tent to wind down, and I could hear some of the others were continuing the party in camp. It got a bit loud, and the proprietor told them to quiet down. He seemed quite angry, and I felt bad on behalf of the hikers. They weren’t really being respectful, but there wasn’t anything I could do, so I popped in earplugs and called it a night. Back on trail tomorrow after a quick resupply and of course, breakfast.