I dreamt about a golden chicken who ate a four inch tall criminal, pretty sure it was Richard’s chicken Lucy. I went inside the house to use the bathroom and found Richard dressed sharply and making coffee. We drank coffee and chatted about a court case he is bringing against his HOA, which doesn’t like all the activity around his house.
While I dried my tent of condensation, Karin fetched her resupply from PVC. Then we hitched into Idyllwild, getting a ride from a young firefighter who told us about structural vs. wild-land firefighting. He was on his way to lay in a hammock in the shade. We went to Mama’s Egg House and ate vegan chilaquiles. Then we spent a couple hours sitting by a coffee shop. I made off-trail plans for July and coordinated our ride to Palm Springs.
I consumed a vanilla milkshake; Karin got Yakisoba noodles. We both went to the grocery store. Then we hitched back to Richard’s house, getting a ride from a guy who worked for a Telecom company. At the house, we met a young hiker named Miles and ate dinner. Richard has several sheds for hikers, so we arranged our sleeping pads and bags in one. I didn’t want to dry gear in the morning and there was a skylight for star viewing.
The skylight was frosted when I awoke, yet I was warm. Inside the house Richard got a fire going and I sipped hot coffee. I had arranged a ride to Palm Springs that fell through with late notice. A couple trail angels gave us high quotes for a ride, so Richard drove us. It was another kindness on his part after hosting us for two nights.
At the airport, I rented a car for the first time! It was a grey Honda Civic. The route Google suggested brought familiar sights. We took I-10 past Cabazon and passed over the trail. A bit later, I recognized Cajon Pass and the trailside McDonald’s. Then we got on Highway 395 and drove past Joshua trees I’d seen on our earlier drive to Walker Pass.
Once we got further north, Highway 395 became a trail preview. To the left the Sierras towered, filled with vast quantities of snow. I kept exclaiming at the views. We drove through Lone Pine and Bishop. Further along we paralleled the West Walker River, which was full of choppy white water.
Eventually we entered Nevada and reached our destination, Reno. It was Karin’s first time in the state. For me, well I grew up in northern Nevada and went to college in Reno. I hadn’t been back in a long time other than passing through last winter. It felt both familiar and strange. We got dinner at Sizzle Pie and a room at the 2-star rated Travelodge. Maybe the star rating was for ambiance? I was more than happy with the hot shower, clean room, comfortable bed, and decent WiFi.
I woke early as always – did internet stuff and chatted with my parents. Karin & I resupplied at Trader Joe’s and Walmart. Then we returned the Honda to the airport; it only used one tank of gas! Inside the terminal we found a quiet nook with chairs and electrical sockets. I spread my ground cloth and assembled breakfasts and snacks, using Ziploc bags I’d saved from past meals.
While Karin mailed our Old Station resupply, I watched our gear. I observed a hiker walking by and ran over to say hello. He was weighing his pack, which was around 50 pounds, yikes! Mine was 30 with close to two liters of water. Anyway, his name was Peter and he was from the Czech Republic. Karin returned and we went outside to catch the bus to Susanville. When it didn’t show, she called and found it didn’t run on Thursday.
The three of us split a Lyft to Susanville. The driver was a friendly lady named Diane. She and I chatted the entire 1.5 hours. In Susanville, we waited at the Walmart then caught a small local bus to Chester. The driver took us the extra five miles past town to the trailhead.
Both Karin and I were excited to have another hiker around. Peter likes to play board games and showed me pictures of a Lord of the Rings campaign style game. Back on trail, we hiked two miles through a burned forest then set up our shelters on the side of a dirt road. Directly after that there was a fierce downpour along with lightning and thunder.
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