Sierra City to Belden- Mile 1289.5

Amongst all the things I have to do when I get into a town (clean up, laundry, food and fuel resupply, pack plant samples with dry paper to ship back to Berkeley, recharge devices, backwash water filter, gear repair, emails, download photos and waypoints, upload new waypoints, change out maps…) this blog post didn’t quite happen when I got to Mt Shasta a week ago.  The trail from Sierra City to Belden was largely clear of snow this year and the weather was ideal, although hot at lower elevations.  The highlight of that week surely was the steep drop into the Feather River drainage (and subsequent long climb back out).  After having to wait until about 11:30 on Monday morning for my food drop to finally arrive in Sierra City, I got onto the trail pretty late, but made good time in walking.  Everything this year is easier, faster, and smoother traveling solo.  I ended up catching up with the Hawaiian brothers and camped two nights with them, first at the Feather River and again the next night up on a windswept ridge.  They were pushing pretty hard to get to Belden before 12:30 on Friday (when the post office there closes) so that was the last I saw of them, save when I caught a ride of town and saw them walking back up the road.  I suppose they caught the post office in time.  Having already done section N and O from Belden to Mt Shasta last year my plan was to skip ahead to Mt Shasta and enter into the Klamath (sections P, Q.   I caught two very quick rides to Chico, but bogged down there trying to hitch up to Mt Shasta.  6 hours standing at a traffic light at an on ramp for route 99 yielded my little more than some smiles, a guy offering me a couple dollars, and a girl who literally threw crumpled up dollar bills out the window to me as she drove by… It was an interesting perspective on what it must be like to be homeless.

I ended up going into a gas station convenience store and talking with the manager, Greg, about where I was and why it was nobody seemed to be headed north.  He thought it likely a difficult spot to hitch from, but very kindly offered up the futon on his back porch for the night, and a ride to the bus station in the morning.  I gladly took him up on the offer, had a good night sleep and caught a bus to Mt Shasta the following day.  I zeroed there at Kristin and Julian’s place where I had mailed ahead my bounce box and food drop.  I am so grateful  to them for the (now many) times they have helped me out this year and last year in dealing with the various logistical details that northern CA has required.  They are good friends and are truly trail angels.

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