PCT 2007 Day 98
Day 98 / 7-1-07 M 4570′
Reach a knoll – Sierra City
29.3 (1.5) miles; 1197.6 (50.55) total miles; 3053.3 trip miles
Deer count is 63
Marmot count is 51
Bear count is 2
Pika count is 2
Last night I had a lumpy sleeping spot but the location was great. We all got up a little late but were going by just past 6 AM.
We descended down to White Rock Creek where we found about 6 tents and one bivy (bivouac). They were all still asleep. They also had some of the worst bear bagging I’ve ever seen. From there we crossed over many ridges, saddles, and roads. We lost track of where we were. We finally met a couple day hiking, who clued us in. We ended up at Pass Creek Loop Road where we had lunch by the river. While having lunch, a logger brought his two dogs down for a swim. Doc, a medium sized long haired dog, came over all wet and got my socks wet by dripping on them. After they left, a momma Mallard came by with 5 or 6 tiny chicks. They were very fuzzy and cute.
We left lunch around 2 PM and had already gone about 16 miles. This meant we only had 11.5 to go. We climbed briefly before descending into a canyon to the Milton Creek. We stopped at 4:30 for there was a side creek and hung out for a half hour. At this point Silver and Backtrack had decided not to go into town. We pushed on crossing two bridges, not knowing which they were. The data book called for us to cross 3; we ended up crossing 4.
Not too far after the second bridge, I was about 100′ in front and heard a loud ripping of tree bark. I looked to my right and 20′ away was a smallish (150-200 lb.) black bear! He was blondish in color; but not too light. He was ripping a stump apart to get bugs. I froze in amazement and in a nano second turned to stop Silver and Backtrack since the bear couldn’t see them from where he was. I was in direct view but had the option of taking one big step north on the trail behind a tree and out of site. As I stopped the others, the bear sensed me and took off running across the creek. I yelled “BEAR! BEAR! BEAR!”, and they looked to the noise. He only went a few yards across the other side. We hung out and watched him but he wasn’t leaving in a hurry. I think he wanted to finish his bugs. He moved up the hill a bit further and then we finally left him be. I was so excited! He was right next to me! I would have never saw him if he hadn’t clawed the stump.
We made our way to Highway 49, where I began to hitch. The first car stopped but the Rottweiler in the back went ape s___ when I approached. The guy said he had changed his mind and was only going to Sierra City so it probably was not worth it. Little did he know I was going there? I left Silver and Backtrack cooking in the trail-head parking lot and headed for town. No one ever picked me up.
Once to town I headed to the general store and Yogi came out of the restaurant next door and said a bunch of hikers were having dinner. The store was closed so I joined them. It was Yogi, Mace, Trail Dog, Marmot, and another couple. They were about done but I ordered a Caesar salad with chicken and it was great. Trail Dog shared his beer with me and Marmot invited me to stay with them since they had this huge apartment above another restaurant all to themselves. The owner of the store re-opened so we could have some soft serve ice cream.
So now I’m in a day bed, inside, showered and comfortable, when I fully expected to be sleeping on the side lawn of the town church. Things always work out on the trail. Well, except for the sunburn I got today on my arms.
Besides the bear I saw a deer in the early part of the day.
Scatman 2011- This was a long day as far has hiking days go. It was not the biggest mileage day but long in hours. I was on cloud 9 after seeing the bear. He was only 25′ away from me when I saw him. My heart was pumping that’s for sure. Having to walk the 2+ miles to town took some wind out of my sail. People think if you’re hiking 2658 miles from Mexico to Canada than what’s the big deal if you have to walk an extra 2 miles? It’s not the 2 extra miles we dislike but the fact that there town miles. Basically any mileage that isn’t trail mileage can appear to be a waste to a thru-hiker.
The generosity I received in town was well worth the 2 mile walk. That salad was amazing and then having the owners of the store reopen to serve us ice cream was the cherry on top! Oh, and a soft bed and a shower! Lovely.