July 8, 2017
Mile 1240.38 – Lookout Rock (1240.38-1257.41)
We slept in today. Until 5:30. Pretty crazy, I know. Gummies’ parents are flying in to meet him in Chester, so we’re trying to find ways to kill time so that we can make sure our arrival in town coincides with theirs. Slowing down is pretty easy, and you can do any number of things to help kill time, like sleeping in, stopping to camp earlier, and taking longer and/or more frequent breaks. And swimming.
We were in the forest again pretty much all day today. After a good night’s sleep, I felt much better than yesterday morning, and happily cruised the steady downhill of the trail all morning, winding through the trees. We stopped in the trail again to eat breakfast, then continued to descend until we reached the Middle Fork Feather River. There was a really cool bridge going over the river, which was raging pretty good. I had been hoping for a swim, but it didn’t look too promising. But when we came down off the trail a bit, we were able to find a somewhat calmer spot to go for a swim with Rocket Man, the hiker we hitched into Truckee with and who we’ve been hiking around the past couple of days. The water was the perfect temperature for swimming and felt soooo good. Any chance to somewhat cleanse our filthy bodies is always welcome.
Gandalf standing guard at the Bear Creek bridge
After our swim, we only hiked a couple more miles before stopping beside a beautiful cascading creek for lunch. Of course, this involved climbing up a 700 foot ascent in the heat, so we became super sweaty immediately following our dip in the river. After lunch, we descended a bit to cross Bear Creek, and then had to tackle a 7 mile stretch that went straight uphill for an almost 3000 foot ascent. It was hot, sweaty, and exhausting. I stopped for a break at a random spot in the trail, and at every water source we came to.
Finally, in the last mile of the day, we broke out of the trees and got some actual views. There are rolling, forested hills as far as the eye can see. We set up camp at Lookout Rock, so we have a pretty nice view. It would have been an amazing place to cowboy camp, if it wasn’t for the damn mosquitoes. I miss cowboy camping, but I just can’t handle the bugs. I made taco rice burritos for dinner, and felt full for the first time in a while. I actually had trouble finishing my food (though that may have been due to the hefty amount of peanut butter m&ms and skittles I had as an appetizer).
While we were chilling at a water source with Rocket Man, he suggested that if we want to kill time, we should check out Buck’s Lake. We checked it out and it sounds pretty awesome. It sounds like a super hiker-friendly community, with the possibility of free beer and camping, stores where we can stock up on snacks, and of course a lake to swim in. The alternate to get there is just a few miles away, so we’ll have a pretty short day of hiking tomorrow and then spend the rest of the day hanging out there. I’m pretty excited, but I’d better not get too used to this “killing time” schedule, because we’re going to have to start pushing hard to make miles once we get past Chester. More tomorrow from the lake!