Mile 1184.6-1195.4 (20.8)
Sometime in the night it started raining. I could hear the raindrops pounding on the tent in waves, carried by the wind through the fence of pine trees I hoped would shelter me. It was dark and glum. I got going anyways, packed everything up inside my tent then hurriedly took my tent down and started hiking. I wouldn’t stay dry, it was cold and windy, and the only way to stay comfortable was to stay moving. My hands and toes would freeze but under my long underwear, puffy jacket, and rain jacket, I would be warm enough. I knew the rain wouldn’t last all day.
My hope was to get to Sierra City as fast as possible, eat a burger at the Country Store, get my resupply. This propelled me out of my tent and far down the trail.
From the ridge where I camped, I descended through patchy snow and dense pines. Then I started climbing and was soon in an exposed meadow, wind snarling all around me. This lasted for miles. I created a ridge and continued on exposed ground. I imagined the beautiful mountain silhouettes I might have seen in clear weather. Today was all gray and wet.
I ran into Sweet Virginia and Moonshadow on their Sierra sobo. They celebrated that I was the first woman they’d seen who made it out of the Sierra. And they had good news about the snow: it’s almost over. Just one little patch north of Sierra City.
Eventually I descended out of the clouds and the rain let up, the wind died down. My pace eased but I kept hiking. Didn’t plan on stoping until town.
I passed a few small streams before I remembered that I was thirsty and out of water. Assuming there would still be streams everywhere, I continued on. It was another nine miles before I found water. Northern California, I see you.
I descended down, down, down. The woods grew lighter and sun peaked out, patches of blue appeared in the gray. I was nearly to town.
Before I knew it I was in a pickup truck going to the Sierra Country Store. I ordered a gut buster burger (1lb beef) immediately and sat down outside to charge my gadgets and do a few chores. Soon, the biggest burger I’ve ever seen was in front of me. Biggest and most delicious. I’ve never enjoyed a burger more. I could’ve eaten two. Instead I followed it up with a pint of ice cream. Feeling heavy, I sat for a long time digesting. And then decided to stay in town, pitch my tent behind the church, hike out in the morning. It was a perfect afternoon and I felt like a little rest. Somehow I am the only hiker in town. Maybe I’ll have the PCT all to myself all the way to Canada.