7.7.18. 7.3 miles.
I woke up super groggy this morning, really not wanting to wake up, but Riley was licking my face wanting breakfast and to pee, so I got up and dealt with the dogs, then cuddled/ slept with my mom for a few hours until it was really time to wake up and get going. I was meeting Hot Mess & Butters back at Donner Pass and bringing them Chick-Fil-A since they had been craving it, so we needed to leave by 11 am. I took a shower, finished some last minute to-do things, went to Starbucks for breakfast one last time, where we happened to run into Auntie Di & Amanda and were able to say goodbye, then went back to the house and packed up all my things and had Mom braid my hair. Then we were off, and we only left 15 minutes late! We drove to Chick-Fil-A and got everyone’s orders. This was my first time having it and it was pretty good, I got the chicken nuggets! I’ll have to have a deluxe sandwich next time. While driving back to the trail I finished writing blog posts and scheduling them, and just like that, we were back!
We all met the two of them on the Donner Ski Ranch porch where we hung out for about an hour, then Mom & Dad drove us back to the trail (right down the street). After some goodbyes, we were off! It felt pretty normal to be hiking again. I was worried I’d feel super homesick immediately and not want to get back on the trail, but I think meeting back up with Hot Mess & Butters really made it easier. I was also thrilled to hear they were thinking of only going 7.5 more miles for the day, which was music to my ears! I definitely needed to ease back into hiking after having the 3 days off. The trail was pretty nice and not too difficult, but hauling 6 days of food in my pack was not making it easy. My shoulders were pretty sore about 3 miles in.
Once we hiked about 3.5 miles, we stopped at the I-80 rest stop to use the bathroom and see if the ice cream vending machine was working. It was, so we got some ice cream and sat in the back eating it in the shade. As we were leaving, a couple came up to us and asked if we wanted trail magic... YES! They had been doing trail magic in the afternoon and were just about to leave. We got some cherries, a soda, and I had a bag of white cheddar popcorn. So great and such good timing! We were obviously taking our time getting to camp.
The next 2.5 miles were uphill, but not too steep, and soon enough we were at the top of Castle Pass, a place I had been before! I had Butters take a similar photo of me in the same spot from the winter. Our goal for the night was the Peter Grubb Hut, a backcountry hut maintained by the Sierra Club, mainly for winter use. It’s right off the PCT. There were actually Sierra Club volunteers there when we got there so we chatted with them a lot about our hike and about what they do. It was nice to talk with them!
We didn’t sleep in the hut, but went around the side and pitched our tents in the forest.
We’re going to do a bigger day tomorrow to set up well for Sierra City the next day! I don’t need to resupply there or do town chores except charging, but I’ll probably get lunch at the general store, and then we’ll hike out.