Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 67-74 - Catching Up

I think I'm falling behind a bit. I'm still alive, still hiking.

Starting back with Monday the 25th, I caught a ride with Gray Wolf and his girlfriend to the post office where I mailed home my bear canister.  It's nice to finally be rid of the bulk and weight.  Then we drove back up to Echo Lake.  I saw Buster and a few other hikers waiting for a ride down to Lake Tahoe.

These pictures are from the ridge west of Lake Tahoe.
There were a ton of day hikers on the trail as it wound around to the other side of the lake.  After a few long days of hiking the trail dropped down into Sierra City.  It was a gold rush town with over 4000 people at one point.  Now it has about 225, assuming you count the raccoons, according to Bill, the owner of the Red Moose Inn.  Bill and Margaret run the inn/cafe and are also trail angels.  They invite hikers to camp for free in the back yard and serve BBQ ribs for dinner.  They also provide showers, laundry and a computer.
I bought food for a few days at the little store down the road then went back to the inn for ribs.  I camped out in the back yard and had all-you-can-eat pancakes for breakfast.

There's a huge hill to climb after leaving Sierra City.  It was a little slow going after so many pancakes, but I made it.  I stopped near a spring for the night with Buster and Itchy.  Buster had dinner and hiked on.  He's trying to get to mile 1500 before going home for a wedding; probably doing 35-mile days to make that happen.

The next day (Saturday) ended with another big descent to a river where I camped and soaked my feet.  In the morning while climbing up the other side I saw a bear in the trail.  It had just come up the very steep hillside and stepped onto the trail about 50 feet ahead of me.  It was smaller ad much darker brown than the last bear I saw.  It turned and ran, either up the trail or back down the hill, but I didn't see it again.  A few minutes later I crossed Bear Creek, an appropriate name.

Monday (July 2nd) afternoon I dropped down into the town of Belden.  There isn't a lot to it, a store/restaurant/bar and several other buildings along a river.  They have music festivals there most weekends.  One was just wrapping up when I got there.  People were everywhere, packing up camping gear from where they were staying all along the road.  Around the store they were loading chairs, tents and music equipment.  Looks like it had been quite the party there that weekend.

I had a burger, crossed the river and hiked up the hill on the other side.  It was in the upper 80s and fairly humid, quite a sweaty climb.  I started wishing I'd stayed at the river and gone swimming instead.

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