Day 92: mile 1318 to Chester
7.16.18. 13.3 miles.
I woke up to my 4:30 alarm this morning but just couldn’t open my eyes! I wanted more sleep, but I’m trying to start hiking earlier now, so after 10 minutes of rolling around I finally got ready. I felt bad for making noise as the other people nearby were definitely not getting up until later.
The morning immediately started with a 3 mile climb up to the junction with a trail to Butt Mountain (haha) and I was kind of struggling even though it wasn’t a super hard climb. I think I was a little sore from yesterday. Once at the top though, I knew it was all downhill from there to the halfway point and then the road to town, so I was pretty pumped up!
The trail was really pretty in the morning and so peaceful. I love not seeing any other hikers in the morning and just listening to the sounds of the forest. When I got to the halfway point I was definitely in a serene mood, which was promptly interrupted by a guy I’d been leapfrogging with the past day who immediately started asking me all these questions about Chester. I was like, chill dude, and let me enjoy this moment. He finally left and I got to hang out at the halfway point monument by myself for a bit until Sage and Piñon came.
It was so surreal seeing that midpoint statue! Something I had seen before in countless other photos from other hikers. I felt similar to when I saw the southern monument: sort of a state of shock, not fully able to grasp the reality and weight of the endeavor. Sometimes I think, “wow, only halfway? And I’m still in California?” And other times it’s like, “wow, halfway! I can do the second half because I’ve done the first!” The funny thing is, mileage-wise I’m halfway, but time-wise, I’m more than halfway finished. By my estimates I’ll only be on trail for another 8-10 weeks. I know the rest of Northern California will fly by, and then Oregon will also probably fly by, especially if there are any more fire closures up ahead. I really want to savor Washington though.
After the midpoint, I put on some jams and finished the 8 mile descent down to the highway to get to Chester. Nothing too eventful except the trail passes through some private land and I saw a tree fall from a lumber operation. When I got to the road, I barely had to wait for a ride. A man was dropping off another hiker back at the trail and just swung around and picked me up to go back into town! Perfect timing!
He was super nice and we talked about the trail on the way to town. I asked him to drop me off at the Pizza Factory bc they have a lunch buffet with AYCE pizza and salad and soda refills, and it was only $11! Hiker heaven. I was starving when I arrived and ate so much. After that I talked to my mom on the phone, then went to the post office to get my package. My mom mailed me her trekking poles because I kind of ruined the long tips on mine that seem to be part of the pole, or I just ruined one so that it’s a good 5 cm shorter than the other one. The instructions for replacing the tips was difficult, so we decided I should just use hers and figure out the replacement for mine when I get home. So I picked those up and mailed mine back home along with my beanie and gloves which I never use, and probably won’t need again until Oregon.
Next was resupply at the Holiday Market. As always, resupply is mildly stressful, but I’m trying out some new bars and hope they’re good! Then I made my way down to the laundromat/ pay shower and did my laundry and took a shower! That took a couple hours just to get everything organized and going. I feel very lucky to not have to use a laundromat in real life for all of my laundry. It gets expensive! I only washed my body with soap in the shower bc I didn’t want to re-do my braids that I literally just did. I’ll wait a few more days to really wash my hair. When I was doing laundry I got a call from LOL! She was just a half day behind me and saw my name in the log book at the midpoint and was wondering if I was in town. So we reunited at the church where they let PCTers camp for free, and then got dinner across the street. I was pretty exhausted after hiking and then the constant stream of errands I had to accomplish, without any rest really. At least the whole town is basically one street and everything we need is on it.
I decided though that I wanted to wait to leave later tomorrow bc I want a “legendary” milkshake from the pine shack and they’re closed on mondays! I think it’s an ok thing to do bc I’m limited in the amount of miles I can hike tomorrow anyways. We’re about to get to Lassen National Park, and you need a bear canister to wilderness camp in the park, which we no longer have. So, we basically have to camp at the boundary of the park, only 15 miles away, or we can hike another 4 to the main car camping campground with bear boxes, but have to pay for a campsite. So I think I’m just going to shoot for the boundary tomorrow, if it’s super early, I’ll hike another 4 and just pay for a campsite, but I think getting to the boundary will be ok.