NorCal, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down

NorCal was weird.

From South Lake Tahoe, the one person I still was hiking with from my original tramily had to go back to Sweden due to visa issues. Lumberjack, I miss you!

After 3 zeroes in Reno, dubbed the “Jesus 3,” I went back to Echo Lake to continue north. Another hiker I met back in Bishop asked me to leave my group and hike with him in Truckee. After some deliberation, I said yes. In the meantime, I spent my last few days with the SOS Bosses in the usual style, roasting each other to a crisp and looking forward to the next beer. Donner Ski Ranch and their famous free 40 oz beers satisfied our cravings and then some!

The next day, I hiked out early without the boys, looking forward to meeting my new hiking partner at I-80. What awaited was not what I expected. Our hiking styles did not mesh well, so that only lasted a week or so. Another trail, another failed trail romance. All a part of the journey, I suppose!

In Quincy, I met back up with Pinch from my previous group. We ended up skipping the Dixie burn scar up to Old Station. An oppressive heat wave was beating down on NorCal and, frankly, hiking through the burn sounded miserable. In hopes of quelling any negative comments any readers may be tempted to make, I’d like to remind everyone that this is my hike and how I choose to go about it is entirely my decision.

On the way to Old Station, we made a stopover at Chester so we could hit the PCT midpoint. 7 of us piled into our friend Doggone’s truck and off we went, in search of our midpoint prize. This taste of hiking in the burn reaffirmed my choice to skip it. It was horrid.

At the same time, the days spent hitching to and fro did kill my hiking mojo for a while. I was antsy and ready to hike. I was fresh out of the failed trail romance and I felt very weird. I needed to hike it off. The day out of Old Station, my birthday, was a slog. I followed a fully exposed creek rim all day. In the heat, many of us reverted back to desert tactics and took a few siestas under the sparse trees along the way. I met a ton of hikers I had never seen before and they treated me with loads of kindness. I needed it that day.

By the time I made it to Shasta, I was hiking with a few familiar faces from the desert days! It was so cool to see so many people I hadn’t seen in months and catch up with each other. From there, all the way to the end of the state, I was flying. I felt amazing pushing miles with my new crew. We had a 200 mile week and that’s including a zero day!

We made it to the border just in time to avoid the McKinney fire closure. And I mean just in time. That story is dramatic and lengthy, so I’ll detail that experience in my next post.



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