On July 21st I reached Chester California and completed the California section of the PCT all 1,700 miles. The last 180 miles from Donner Pass on Highway 80 was marked by hot weather, lots of up and down climbing and swimming. For the first time all the rivers, lakes and creeks are warm enough to jump in (if they are deep enough) and I found myself enjoying getting clean at least once or twice a day. Was able to swim in the Yuba River in Sierra City, Summit Lake, Middle Fork of the Feather, and Chips Creek. Also creeks were flowing so it was great to pour water over my head and soak my t-shirt to cool off during the day. The section did require over 32,000 feet of climbing one of the most up and down stretches on the trail
Left Donner Pass around 10:00 in the morning and had a nice relaxing hike to Mule Ear Creek about 22 miles north. Little problem as I got there at 7:30 all the sites had tents on them. Walked down the trail a half mile and found a single site that would work.
Next day hiked 16 miles into Sierra City and did the one mile hitch hike into town got a ride right away from a FedX truck that delivers a ton of hiker packages. Sierra City was packed with hikers and no rooms were available. Ended up finding a house that had an outdoor tent with beds. The house rented out two other rooms and in one room were Jerry and my friends from Southern California – Gadget Girl and Seasoned Strider. Had not seen them since around mile 500 and there they were
Since Sierra City did not have a dinner restaurant Phantom picked up some steaks and I fired up the grill and we ate pretty well at the house.
The next day had to hike 5,000 feet out of the Yuba River valley it was a hot day. I only went 14 miles up to Summit Lake where I camped with other hikers and did a quick swim to clean off the dirt.
Next day got to the Feather River at noon and jumped into the pool for a swim. Phantom was already there sleeping when I showed up and was thinking about the next 5,000 foot climb out the valley.
The next day I started hiking with Phantom on the way to Bucks Lake. Ended up sharing a room and hiking together to Belden. It was fun to hike with someone again and get to know them a bit. Phantom is pretty fast he has run over 26 marathons and has run the Boston marathon 3 times.
I got to Belden and planned to take a zero day and swim in the river and relax. But the town was having a music and art festival and was kicking out people without the $150 tickets. They expected 2,500 people to show up so it was going to get crazy in Belden. So I ended up finishing my laundry and leaving around 11:00 am for another 5,000 foot climb out of the river valley.
The last day hiked 31 miles out to Chester. This section had very little water. Most springs were 1/3 to 1/2 mile off trail and usually required a climb down 300 feet. Great views of Lassen on the last day looks a bit different from early June.
Now since I am about 6 days ahead of schedule I will take two weeks off from hiking one at home and one week with family and friends at the Lair of the Bear at Pinecrest Lake. Back on Trail on August 8th. 950 miles to go in Oregon and Washington.