PCT Day 80 Northern California Blues


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5th July 2015

Mileage 11.1

Sierra City (1197.5) to Bushcamp (1208.6)

I’m back. My mojo has returned. The last week or so I’ve not been as positive as I could be. Fellow hikers, friends from home and some people reading this blog have noticed it in my writing. That’s a part of being on the trail, I guess. Not everyday is amazing.

I’m hearing lots of stories of hikers quitting or skipping ahead to more stimulating parts of the trail. It’s now hot, almost as hot as parts of the desert, but add to that humidity and Mosquitos. I’m starting to suspect that I’m not the only hiker who has been putting on a brave face.

Times like these I’ve questioned why I am here, luckily my answer is strong enough to keep me going. I’m back and motivated.

I woke to a mild hangover courtesy of a few cheeky rums while watching the 4th July fireworks at Truckee. Liquor and an overactive hiker metabolism do not work well in partnership. Or was the general unwellness courtesy of the Taco Bell. Either way Mr & Mrs Smith, Hummingbird and myself were not in the finest of form first thing in the morning. 

We turned our attention to hitch hiking back to Sierra City. Not an easy undertaking. We were lucky enough that GGs husband was able to drop us off on the highway at a good location to get a lift. It took maybe 15 minutes before Jayne (I think that was her name) picked us up. She was able to take us about 20 miles. She was a jovial lass who was very interested in our trip.

She mentioned a folk music festival playing nearby. Must admit I was tempted (we all were) but a combination of $87 tickets and another day off the trail killed the deal. She dropped us off at a junction road to Sierra City in the middle of nowhere. I

t was about 20 miles further to Sierra City. For over an hour we waited for a ride. Nobody stopped or even looked like stopping until a rather strange older gentleman and his partner stopped. Instinct told me beware. My instinct for judging people is more highly developed than most people. I can blame my previous employment for that. Desperation told me get in. I won’t go into details but let me say I almost kissed the ground when I exited the vehicle in Sierra City! Enough said.

A quick lunch and I spied KC and Teflon. Great to catch up and hear the stories of previous days. I do hope we all decide to continue hiking together, it almost feels like an extended family.

Our own little trail family. Mr & Mrs Smith, Hummingbird and I have all decided to step up the miles in the coming days and weeks. It means starting earlier and finishing later in the day. The terrain is getting easier and our hiking fitness is at such a high level. Hiking a marathon (26 miles) a day is not out of the question.

It’s midday and I set off hiking in the heat of the day, everybody else rested and would catch up to me later. At the trailhead I caught up with Twist (previously known as Scotland) and Ninja. I didn’t expect to see them again.

I hiked with Twist for several days as early as day 3 of this hike, way back in the desert near Mt Laguna. Their story of being stalked by a cougar for 2 hours only a couple of days ago was frightening. I wonder if that has happened to me and I just didn’t realise it. Statistically speaking I have certainly been watched by a Cougar. They are common enough. But I haven’t seen one. I would dearly love to see one. May hope and good karma be on my side.

The climb out of Sierra City was long, hot and relentless. All 3500 feet of it. At some unfortunate spot I seemed to have left my hiking poles by the side of the trail and hiked off without them. It could have been one of three places, none of which justified me turning around and hiking back to get them, so now I’m in the market for a new set of trekking poles. Damn, that’s more money I need to spend. My future hiking ambitions should dictate that I invest in a good pair, rather than the $25 El cheapo versions that I had. 

Around 9 miles from Sierra City I cooked dinner next to a natural water spring expectantly waiting the arrival of my hiking companions. Two hours elapsed. Nobody. I set off in search of a flat place to camp. The sun was sinking low in the sky and the temperatures were near perfect for hiking.

It was calm and quiet, only the birds, squirrels and chipmunks were making noise. It was nearly 8pm when I made camp. I’d already eaten dinner so when the tent was up I climbed into my sleeping bag, started writing this blog then promptly fell asleep with phone in hand. Sleep in the wilds of the PCT comes easy. 

1200 miles
sierra Buttes

Next : Day 81 Going Solo

The Best information about the Pacific Crest Trail:
Complete Guide to the Pacific Crest Trail
Resupply Guide for the PCT
PCT Gear List

PCT Gear Review

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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5 thoughts on “PCT Day 80 Northern California Blues”

  1. For me the trail community is right at the top along with the incredible scenery. I’m now working my way through winter and looking forward to being back on trail in a few months and meeting all the new faces. In the past, I seem to hike about 50% of a trail with people. ADL

  2. We were told by a local at the Red Moose cafe that there are mountain lions in that area; and to be careful if hiking alone at night. Still I’d think the mountain lions have enough to eat and to keep themselves busy rather than stalking people. Scary for your friends! I hope someone finds and returns your poles.

    • I think it is very common for mountain lions to see people but not for people to see mountain lions. They were hiking pre sunrise, something I don’t normally do. No sign of my poles, just ordered new ones.


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