Tent site – Sierra city
16.9 miles + 1.5 mile road walk.
1649ft up. 4407ft down.

After a few nights of uninterrupted deep dreamless sleep, last night I slept badly. I woke up every hour and by 2am I had to get out of my tent to have a wee. I am desperately thirsty and desperately need a wee. It makes no sense. I didn’t need a torch because the moon is so bright, it illuminates the forest and it just looks creepy.

I hurry back into my tent and the time ticks by. I’m still awake at 3:30. I have to stop myself from guzzling all my water, it’s nearly 10 miles until the next water.

Eventually it’s time to get up. I’ve still had a good 7 hours sleep so I feel rested.

There was a beautiful sunrise today and I tried to get up and out of the trees to see it properly, and the moon was still out and full.

The trail was just so beautiful today, the autumn colours are glowing in the low sun. There are yellows and reds, oranges and browns. The trail climbed up through the trees and across ridges which looked over lakes and mountains. I had to stop and take it all in several times.

Unfortunately there were a lot of tyre prints on the trail today which means bikes – which aren’t allowed on the trail – have been up and down.

I had to leave the trail to take a poo and it wasn’t solid. So now I feel hungry (I ate all my snacks very early on) thirsty and weak. I plod on and think of that burger I’m going to get when I get to Sierra City. Often cited as the biggest and best burger on the whole trail. I didn’t get to test it out last year so this year I get to see if it can beat the food at JJs, which has so far been the best burger on trail I think.

I get to the Sierra Buttes trail head and there is a bit of a road walk which is part of the trail. While I’m walking on the road about 5 trucks full of mountain bikes pass me. I hope they aren’t destined for the PCT. I’m pretty sure Catwater will give them a piece of her mind if she sees any, people think she’s official PCT when she’s wearing that hat with the PCT badge on!

I try to get back on the trail but there is a camper parked right by the trail and there are two dogs barking and tied up, straining in their leashes, so I choose to walk the dirt road that runs parallel instead. I finally make it to the spring and chug some water and wait for Catwater.

I’m down to my last packet of skittles and now I’m really feeling the hunger. 7 more miles and it’s mostly downhill. The trail opens out and follows the contour gently down the mountain with a few switchbacks. I thought this section would be fairly easy but the trail was really rocky, overgrown with scratchy bushes in a lot of places and really really hot as the sun was beating down on the exposed trail. I was glad when the trail went over the ridge and started descending down the other side into the trees and the shade, down 2.5 miles of switchbacks down to the road to Sierra City.

On the way I met Michael, a 73 year old man out for a few days. He just started at the bottom of the switchbacks and we had some interesting discussions about pepper spray, Africa, Stonehenge in the 60s and positive practice. I would never have guessed he was 73, the same way he didn’t guess I was from England (I’m not Australian!). I liked Michael, he was a really interesting guy.

We finally got to the road. A car passed so we stuck our thumbs out. Of course it didn’t stop so we decided to walk and try to hitch at the same time. Our only other option was a FedEx truck so we ended up walking the whole way into town, the guide says it’s a mile but it felt longer.

Funny little town. Catwater had called all the places in town but they were all booked up because of a wedding. But one lady did get back to her and even though she was out of town she said we could stay at her house. She gave us directions and instructions and the house was left unlocked so we could just let ourselves in!!

We headed straight to the General store for our burger. But they weren’t serving hot food today. WHAT?! I was getting hangry and I couldn’t listen to the explanation so I went and bought an ice cream and a chocolate milk and inhaled them while Catwater was talking to the lady on the phone about the place to stay.

We decided to go over the the Red Moose cafe instead. They stopped serving at 2pm and it was 2:30. This is a disaster!! We dropped our stuff at the house and marvelled at the collection of vintage items and collections of things. We went back to the store and cobbled together some resupply and ordered deli sandwiches, which came with the option of fries so that was something at least. We took it back to the house and the sandwich was so enormous I could only manage half. Maybe the ice cream, chocolate milk and two Mountain Dews had filled me up already.

We showered, did laundry and caught up with the world on our phones. I feel like I’ve had a bit too much sun today.


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