Total distance: 1205.3
I have been a few miles behind schedule and today would be leaving Petunia to make up for lost time and get back where I needed to be. We hiked the first 8 miles into Sierra City and stopped at The Red Moose Inn for coffee. Sierra City is an adorable little mountain town tucked away in the valley of two giant ranges and offers a general store, gas and two restaurants. The stained wood, log cabin style buildings stole my heart and made me never want to leave. It made me feel the way the towns in the north east did. Especially Connecticut and Massechussets.
I stayed at the general store for a while doing some resupplying and resting on the front porch before hugging Petunia and saying goodbye to other faces I’ve seen around recently. I got my new shoes on and started up a grilling climb back to trail elevation.
During the first three miles I booked it up switch backs in a lush, dense pine forest and was comforted by the sound of rushing water down below me where a gorgeous river ran. The trail took me to an opening where I took a small break and then everything changed.
The trail was no longer wide, but over grown by manzanita bushes and other small, shin high bushes that cut my legs and frustrated the hell out of me. The sun was beaming on my back and the slate rock beneath my feet bent my ankle in every direction imaginable. I’m glad I got these new shoes or my feet would have been destroyed.
During the last four miles of climbing I was wondering why I left Sierra City when I did and how I wish I had stayed behind and spent time resting in the city. The views today were still masked from the fire in Auburn so there wasn’t even that to make me optimistic.
Finally I reached the top and got back into the forest and planned on hiking another ten miles to set myself up for two easy days into Belden, but kept passing hikers who mentioned something about a treat waiting for me down the trail.
- Husky-pit bull mix
Right after I had given up on finding it I came across a shirtless man in blue swim trunks with a Tecate in his hand and asked if I’d like a beer. I saw a sign that said Morgan’s Diner and looked to the left to see an rv parked in the middle of the woods with hammocks, tents, hikers, a grill and coolers everywhere. I chuckled and said “hell yes”!
I made my way over to meet everyone and was given a double ipa and a burger and knew I’d be staying put for the rest of the evening. I met a young man with long black hair hidden in a baseball cap who is a cook in Berkley. He made me an incredible burger and talked to me about the Bay Area for a while before I started a game of corn hole with the other hikers.
The other members of Morgan’s diner returned from a day hike and almost immediately jumped into service roll. I was given an hour massage on my back and hips while lying down on pillows on the ground. I could feel these two women putting their full energy and focus into getting out my knots as they talked to me about their jobs and lives and how they want to give love to the world around them in anyway they can. I felt like I entered a new world when I got up and grabbed another beer to begin and incredibly eventful night.
I introduced polish horseshoes to a couple of people and we drank and played until a man named Steve told us we should go on a sunset walk to the other camp and spend sometime with the folks over there.
On the way the sun was sending rays of light that trickled their way through the lichen covered trees and gave the most amazing color to the world around us. We showed up at the campsite and some older folks were playing music on a drum set and a bass made from a wash tub. There were about fifteen of us and everyone was talking and laughing or dancing and singing. I played drums for a bit and spent some time talking to an older man by the fire before we went back to our own spot.
We then started up the grill and had tacos and carnita. I made a fire that we sat around for a few hours. The conversations we had went from poop to food to psychology to trail stories to philosophy and back to food. Everyone was so open accepting that there seemed to be a perfect flow in our energy and how we all communicated for those few hours.
Slowly people drifted off to their tents and I found myself blowing up my pad to cowboy camp next to the rv. It’s a wonderful thing when you are hit with an opportunity to connect with people on a deep level who are full of light and love and want nothing more than to pour it out on you to strengthen your mind and heart for the journey you are on. I am so thankful for having this time to rest and be surrounded by so much positivity and love. I’m not even stressed about making up miles.