Today I was headed into Sierra City for a resupply, laundry, and shower- my camping by a bathroom 2nights before did NOT dim my excitement for that shower! I had wanted to do more miles the day before, before the rain hit, to have a easy walk in. Instead I would have 16 miles into town. I needed an early start.
I did start early- and it was FREEZING! Cold like your fingers ache doing fine motor things- such as taking down a tent. I started the day in multiple layers including rain pants and jacket, a hat, and gloves. Not how I generally dress in early July!
Fortunately, hiking creates heat. As I hiked, I stripped layers. And then, around 9am, the sun broke above the trees and I came to a sunny, warm, somewhat flat patch of ground. I stopped and pulled out my tent to dry it out (it was still wet from last nights rain) and to change into different clothes. We were descending rapidly (about a 3000 foot descent into town) and it was warming up). And of course, I ate. Always eat something when you stop for any reason whatsoever!
While I was taking a break, who should go by, but the group that had passed me the night before as I was setting up camp. I learned that I had, indeed, made the correct choice by stopping. They had hiked on, in the rain, had to set up camp in a downpour, and everything was soaked! I offered my flat sunny spot to them- I was packing up- but they declined.
One truism on the PCT is this: if there is an alternate route available, take it! The alternate routes always have more scenic views and most often, more water. There was an alternate route into Sierra City.,
I hiked along a river, past waterfalls, and through a commercial campground. (Where I was offered homemade cookies in exchange for tales from the trail. Then I went by a swimming hole which would have been wonderful to jump in, except that it was starting to rain again.
I made it into town just as it was starting to rain. Not bad!
In towns, my to do list looks like this: eat, find a place to stay, shower, resupply, laundry. In that order. I was surprised at how many people were in Sierra City, and how many places had no vacancy. Looks like everyone had been driven off theory rains by the hail! I finally did find a nice place, though,with a really nice, hot shower! And when I went to resupply at the general store, it was like a hiker reunion.
Here's something I don't understand- many of the hikers I encountered at the store had been in Sierra City for hours, but had yet to take a shower or do laundry. Instead, they were hanging out on the porch of the store, drinking beer. When I went back to the deli for dinner, they were still hanging out on the porch. When I went back a third time to put some purged stuff from my pack in the hiker box, they were STILL there. And the next morning when I went to the trailhead, they were back on the porch (having slept in the church basement in town) in showered and I dirty, wet clothes. I tell ya, some people don't know how to do towns!
Peace love and trail magic!