So did I make it to Burney that night?
I sure did!
I really couldn't believe it, but I got there before the sun had even started setting. I pulled off just under 36 and a half miles in a little under 14 hours! Math says that comes out to be about 2.6 miles per hour, sustained over the entire day. As someone who has been aware since puberty how short my legs are, I was very proud of myself.
Loving the flat trail around here
The hitch was harder than I expected, but I was picked up with 2 other hikers, Daya and Potatoes. We got picked up by a woman whose son was out on the trail, and she was very happy to pick up and talk to a few PCT hikers. We went to the Word of Life Assembly Church, which is kind enough to allow hikers to use their large gymnasium during the season to sleep indoors. They also had free showers, and were in the middle of town.
After I'd set up (and found Blue to tell him I'd made it), I went to the Chinese restaurant next door and got some regrettably greasy stir-fried noodles to celebrate my accomplishment.
Sleeping in the gymnasium was actually a lot of fun. There were probably a dozen other hikers there, and it felt kind of like I was on one of those overnight field trips you might take as a kid to the aquarium.
I had a feeling people wouldn't be leaving early the next day, and I was right. It seemed everyone stuck around through lunch. It was a really comfortable hiker space, and we were having fun hanging out. I ended up finding a trail angel on Facebook to try and get a ride back to the trail, because Blue and I were having a tough time trying to hitch out.
I sure wasn't getting tired of those Northern California sunsets
We didn't hike long because we got out of town so late, and ended up at a pretty small campsite, where we met Dreamwalker. I cowboy-camped (slept outside of my tent, in just my sleeping bag) for the first time here because the site wasn't really big enough for all of us to set up our tents, and the weather was great. It was fun, although I realized I still preferred sleeping in my tent. Not sure why, but that tiny bit of fabric makes me feel very cozy.
I happened upon more trail magic the next day, and a familiar face. Remember the trail magic I ran into near Fish Lake in Oregon
run by Clementine? It was her again! She was there with her son, camping for a few days. She actually remembered me, too. I got a couple snacks, chatted for a bit, then continued on my way.
It wasn't as hot that day, because it was pretty windy out, but I knew I could get a cold drink at the end of the day anyway; we were stopping in Old Station for the night. The Fill-UP gas station/convenience store there allows PCT hikers to camp behind the store. We met a couple other hikers there that night, Half-Spice and Mermaid. It was fun to hang out where picnic tables exist, as always.
Blue and I got breakfast at JJ's Cafe next to the convenience store before heading off for the day. Like I said, we thru-hikers love breakfast. There, we met the man who maintains one of the water caches nearby hikers rely on, Cache 22. It was great to learn about what it's like to maintain a water cache, and we were happy to be given the opportunity to thank him in person.
Healthy, balanced hiker breakfast... with fries