After spending a restful night in Truckee and having an amazing breakfast the next morning, Merkel, Horizon, and I got back on the trail while Mama Merkel hung out with Papa Merkel. Horizon and Merkel both had plans to stay in Truckee through the end of the weekend so they decided to slackpack (I.e. day hike) from where we left off to I-80 over the next few days. The weather was much improved and was forecasted to be sunny and warm for the next week so our spirits were high.
It took awhile to hike back up the forest road and get back on the PCT and we felt like we were making good progress, but somehow we weren’t as fast as we thought and Merkel and Horizon had to adjust their plans and take a different side trail in order to meet Mama Merkel.
It was a sad parting for us because I didn’t know if I would see either of them again on the trail. Three days head start is hard to make up and I planned on increasing my daily milage soon.
After I left them, I headed toward Tinker Knob where I met a southbound thru hiker named Tom Parker and his dog Bob Dillon. I’m not sure if he had it all together because when he heard I was from Berkeley he asked me if I was there in the 60s! I replied that I wasn’t alive in the 60s then he asked what my major was and when I would finish school. He was a bit off in both directions but kind of amusing. The trail accepts all kinds of people.
The next day I hiked through several ski resorts, went over Donner summit, and crossed beneath I-80 through a pedestrian tunnel.
I climbed a large hill and had wonderful views down into a valley.
Midmorning I stopped at a hut along the trail to sign the register and Monk came up. I hadn’t seen him since Independence so it was nice to hike with him and catch up. He kept up a steady stream of conversation all day and the time passed by quickly. We camped on the top of a ridge that night with a southbound section hiker and another northbound thru hiker named Indy. Indy (trail name after Indiana Jones because of his hat) went to undergrad at Berkeley and worked in the lab of one of our friends so there yet another small world connection here.
We were only 15 miles from Sierra City and we all got an early start to get into town for breakfast. Monk, Indy, and I hit up the Red Moose right away and we each ordered two main courses. The full stack of pancakes after the scramble was a bit much but it was so good. I waddled across the street to the store and got my resupply box and took my time reorganizing things.
We had come down a lot in elevation to reach Sierra City and it was hot there! It was in the upper 80s with full sun so we hung out in town during the heat of the day. We also met up with Fluffy Star and Breathless, two women thru hikers whom I had met briefly at other times.
Around 4 pm we decided to head out, but that meant climbing a huge hill to get out of the valley. We took an alternative which consisted of walking on a dirt road from town up to the trail. It was hot and sweaty with little shade and the going was slow but we eventually made it to the top and camped near a lake.
Since I wake up with the sun, the next morning I was up and ready to go before some of the others were even awake so I took off by myself (my m.o.) and had a great day walking through a forest where it was mostly flat. There were a few places with views which was nice.
And I saw the best sign for the trail yet.
The wildflowers are out in full force right now and they are stunning.
With the trail so flat and fast, the miles flew by and before I knew it, I was coming down a huge hill into my camp next to a river. That day I hiked 38 miles, a new one day record for me!!