With a one-pound cheeseburger calling our names in Sierra City, Quoi and I started hiking shortly after 6 am. With the day being almost all downhill, we expected to make pretty good time.
As we got started, Sierra Butte was visible again in the distance, this time lit from the front by the sun, so we could see more details than just its outline.
Shortly after we started, we ran into Carmen Sandiego, Lost, and Squish, who had all flipped north to Ashland, Oregon to avoid the snow in the Sierra.
Much of the day, the trail remained under forest cover. A few times, there were glimpses through the trees of a lake in the distance, but the trail never came close enough, or the trees thin enough, to be able to get a good view. Every once in a while, though, there would be something nice to look at.
As we got closer to Sierra City, Sierra Butte continued to loom, growing ever larger we progressed.
The valley Sierra City is in also came into view.
Like with yesterday, there was no snow on the trail; the last time there was snow on the trail was the snow I slipped down some when we were heading to Donner Pass. It almost seems likely that that was the last snow we’re going to see for a while.
We made it to the trailhead around 3:40, a little later than I think we were planning, but still with plenty of time to get food and relax in town. Although Sierra City is only 1.5 miles off of the trail, and we could have walked along the road, the road had hardly any shoulder to speak of, and cars were going by pretty quickly, so it would have been a dangerous road walk. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long to get a ride into town. After ten or fifteen minutes, we got a ride from Chris, who had a van converted into an RV, so we had a pretty nice ride to town.
Chris dropped us off at the general store, where we hung out with several other hikers as we waited for (and ate) our food. There were also power outlets, so we could recharge our electronics, and free WiFi as well, though it was somewhat slow and unreliable. The one pound cheeseburger I got was really good.
One of the reasons we went into Sierra City was so that Quoi could say hi to someone in town she had befriended on her hike last year. Unfortunately, it seems that person had skipped town last fall, and no one knew where they went or why they left. Quoi was understandably unhappy at that turn of events.
As the hour grew late (and everything in the town started to close), the rest of the hikers there went to the tavern to get there before last call. Quoi and I remained at the general store, trying to get something productive done on the flaky internet. As we sat in front of the store, a guy, Steven, drove up in a truck and joined us on the front porch, trying to get on the internet as well.
As we talked, he told us a story of “Bahb the Bear”, who once raided the basement food stores in his cabin, eating 20 pounds of chicken scratch and 30 pounds of oatmeal and MREs over the course of two days.
Steven’s cabin a was few blocks away, and after Quoi’s sob story of the short cold showers available in the public restrooms, he offered to take us back there and let us use his warm shower, sleep in a bed, and he’d give us a ride back to the trailhead in the morning. Since our original plan was to tent on the town’s church’s lawn, and not have a shower, bed, and hitch back to the trail, this was a clear improvement to our situation, and we happily accepted.
Steven also hadn’t had dinner yet, so the three of us shared a dinner at his cabin: a squash, rice, mushroom, and shrimp stir-fry. It was pretty good.
We got to bed late tonight, well after 10 pm. That means we’re not going to get an early start tomorrow like we wanted, but we won’t have to try and hitch back, so that’ll definitely save some time.