Date: Saturday, 30 September 2017
Start: Where the PCT crosses Hwy 40 near Donner Pass at Mile 1153.4, 7114 ft
Finish: Camped by the trail at Mile 1175.5, 7621 ft
Daily Miles: 22.1 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 2496.1
Weather: Mild and sunny
Breakfast: Oatmeal, ham & cheese omelette & hash browns, toast & jam.
Dinner: Rehydrated beef stroganoff with noodles
Aches: Left ankle sore for much of the afternoon
Highlight: The last hour walking along the top of a high treeless ridge by the light of a setting sun which turned the distant mountains orange.
Lowlight: None really.
Pictures: Click here
I left the hostel, which had been OK, at 7am and walked to a nearby diner for breakfast. From there, I walked a short distance to the bus station and right on 8am, as promised, Mark, who I had met in the burger restaurant yesterday, turned up to give me a ride back to the trailhead. He even gave me a block of Italian dark chocolate (he had just returned from a vacation in Italy) as a gift. He is another one of the very generous people I have been fortunate enough to meet on this hike.
I was hiking by 8:30am, initially climbing uphill through rocky terrain until after an hour I passed under the I-80 freeway and into more forested country. There were quite a few day hikers about as I climbed gradually through pretty old growth forest to Castle Pass (7928 ft) and then descended into a valley. That seemed to establish the pattern for the day, with one ridge following another, and valleys in between. Sometimes the ridges were treeless with scrubby vegetation, allowing for good views, but there was also old growth forest, which I always enjoy. Some of the valleys had grassy meadows and crystal clear streams.
The day hikers seemed to disappear in the afternoon and I had the trail to myself. The grades were reasonable, despite all of the climbs, and I made good time even though my pack was heavy. I have booked a cabin at a very small town called Sierra City tomorrow night, and given that it will be Sunday night and a good chance things will close early, I wanted to cover a reasonable distance today, so that I have 20 miles or less for tomorrow. My pack is heavy because I’m not confident of resupplying in Sierra City, so have brought enough food to get me to Quincy on Wednesday night, though I am hoping to get dinner and breakfast at the former while there. I reached my goal, a forest road crossing the PCT, at 6:40pm, and found a good tentsite nearby. I will be making an early start tomorrow to make sure I get to Sierra City by midafternoon.