Mile 1195.4-1221.0 (25.6)
I liked sleeping in the church yard and woke easily in the morning. I ate my little breakfast on the porch of the Sierra Country Store where there was wifi, then I got ready to go back to the trail.
Jim Duffy, a retiree who lives in the trailer next to the churchyard and who had invited me over last night for a drink and some Burning Man stories, picked me up in his van on his way to try, for the third time, to transfer money for a ticket to his 12th Burning Man. I wished him luck and headed back into the woods.
It was a long but easy climb and I enjoyed it. Without snow, the trail is so cruiser. It was warm today, and there is a gentle breeze. I emerged out of the top of the forest and rounded an exposed, gravelly mountain, climbing again until I finally crested it. The whole thing was 7 miles and maybe 2500 feet elevation gain. Pretty nice!
For most of the afternoon, I wandered along the ridge in the pleasant weather. I felt no rush to get miles in, especially since I hike later when the weather is good. The sun illuminated the bright green lichen on the trunks of the pines all around me. There were pretty lakes in the valleys below. For the first time in hundreds of miles, I felt like swimming.
Toward evening, the trail left the ridge and began to dip down then swing up again. I hit my last patches of snow and said a fond fair well. The snow was slushy in the heat, but the patches were so minor it didn’t matter. I was in very high spirits knowing it was dirt trail from here on north.
I didn’t find a campsite until almost 9pm. The sun had just disappeared below the mountain and the sky glowed pink and orange. I listened to birds and frogs also settling in for the night. It is warm and I am not tired. If there was more sunlight, I’d keep hiking.