Mileage 24.5 (23 on the PCT + 1.5 on hwy 49)
Mile 1197.5 to mile 1220.5
Today is national hike naked day. I don’t feel particularly enthused by this. Last year on hike naked day I was in town, in Bishop (Bishop! So far back!) and I missed it. So this year I should participate, right?
I sleep good in the churchyard, hallelujah. I have a dream that we’re all fugitives and we have to hike at night. In the morning I lay in my bag and watch the light move across the yard, the other hikers stir. It’s so peaceful here. But not for long- today sierra city is having its 150th anniversary celebration. There’s supposed to be a gunfight in the street. Already vendors are setting up their booths stuffed with decorative fleece blankets and walking sticks. Let’s get the fuck out of here.
The general store isn’t open yet but the owners are SUPER nice and they let Twinkle in early, to buy their last bottle of stove fuel. Then we mosey over to the Red Moose, where some people are getting breakfast. More drama at the Red Moose- one hiker tells us that yesterday, when she wanted to buy a shower, Bill, the dude there, asked her if she “wanted the camcorder on or off”.
Fuck that dude.
We try to hitch to the trail but there isn’t any traffic and we end up walking the 1.5 miles on the road. Then we switchback up, up, up through the warm leafy forest- four thousand feet in seven miles but this isn’t the sierras, so it feels cruiser. Halfway up Twinkle, Guthrie and I take a break on a hunk of volcanic rock overlooking the whole world and Big Sauce comes hiking up, wearing nothing but his american flag gaiters.
“It’s hike naked day!” Says Big Sauce. Twinkle strips down to his neon orange fanny pack and then there’s peer pressure, and a moment later Woody shows up and then the four of us are switchbacking up the mountain, laughing at how amazing yet ridiculous it feels to be hiking with nothing but the packs on our backs.
An hour later we’re sunburnt but still going strong and suddenly there are so many… day hikers. Now normally on the PCT at this time of year we’d only see one or two day hikers in a day, and then only when we were near a trailhead. Usually we have the whole trail to ourselves, and we treat it as a sort of soviergn nation in which we can do whatever the fuck we want, spread rumors about each other, and make up our own culture. But today is a saturday AND the summer solstice, and it just so happens that on the top of the mountain we just switchbacked up there is a VERY busy trailhead. So here’s the four of us, hiking along single file, trekking poles clacking, NAKED, and here come… all the day hikers. Whole families, children, babies, teenagers. Older folks. As soon as we think we’ve passed them all there’s more, and 25 day hikers later we’re laughing so hard we can’t hardly breathe. And then come the dirt bikes…
A few hours later we stop to eat lunch at a little lake, hear gunshots, and concede to put our clothes back on. It’s only some dudes in a jeep having target practice but you never know, right?
The rest of the afternoon we hike on the rolling ridges, way above everything, and then drop down to the “A” tree, where there’s a spring. Springs! We’re in the land of springs! Water burbling up out of the earth! There’s nowhere to camp, though, so we climb until we find a nice flat spot in the last of the warm sun and spread out our bedrolls, eat dinner, clean the black dirt from our feet. 68 miles till Belden, and then the halfway point a few days after that. Oh, the mixed emotions I will feel then!
Photos on instagram.