Day 95: Due to celebrating the midway point yesterday I planned to sleep in today and head into Chester for my milkshake and that is just what I did. I didn’t leave until after 8 which is late for me! Scotty doesn’t plan to stop so I may have to catch up with him later. A couple times on the trail we, as hikers, are forced to make awkward mileage decisions due to camping closures. There’s a few sections on the PCT where you’re not allowed to camp and one was coming up, well kind of. This one requires a bear canister to stay the night which I gladly no longer carried. So it either puts you at a short day of 19 miles or a long ass day of like 38 miles. I think Scotty is planning to do the 38! I’ll do the 18. Hike to Chester then to Drake’s Bad Resort and camp there. The hike into Chester was nice. The weather was great and I walked under trees in a beautiful forest until the road. The few miles flew by. But standing waiting for a hitch didn’t. Everyone says as a girl hitching will be easy…..not always. Many cars passed and kept passing. I started debating whether or not I should just skip it when 2 awesome guys heading to work let me hop into their truck. What’s fascinating to me is that I’m a total stranger yet, multiple times on this trip people open up to you right away. This guy was telling me all about his life and family. And it’s pretty damn beautiful to have to interaction with someone you don’t even know. They dropped me in the middle of town and I planned to just get some breakfast and hang until the popular milkshake spot opened up. As I was passing the laundromat I met another hiker, a man named Cheerleader. He chatted with me for awhile while I washed my clothes in the sink, and then offered to let me go to his hotel room to shower. I know it sounds sketch….but it’s another hiker it’s normal in this life to shower in random places. After I showered which felt amazing, we headed to breakfast at Cravings. It was so good, the food (breakfast burrito) and the conversation. He is actually trying to find a property along the PCT to host hikers and tried to buy Kennedy Meadows and told me all about why that fell through.
But his true hope is to able to make it a place hikers feel totally welcome and able to prepare themselves for the Sierras. I had a fine experience at KM, but some hikers claim they’re not hiker friendly. More like hiker tolerable. And they just use hikers to make money, but give us not so great camping and bathroom areas. Again, I had no issues but who knows. His goal was to get it, create a good relationship with Grumpys, the only other restaurant there, and make it a fun convenient place for hikers to spend time before the brutal Sierras. But when they were a good chunk through the process he learned that had multiple health code violations, and instead of fixing them, they just decided to no longer sell it. But after that we went and got our milkshakes. I got a chocolate with fresh strawberries, and Cheerleader got a huckleberry. Good choice! This place is dope you can get a massive like 40oz milkshake for $7! Winning! I then went across the street to get a hitch. A nice guy named Cameron offered me a ride while his clothes finished washing. He had a few month old puppy I instantly fell in love with named Killer. It was a mix of a lab, pit, German Shepard, and border collie. On the way he asked if I had ever had a creepy or weird experience, hitching alone as a female. And I replied, “not until just now” haha. But all was good. When he dropped me off at the trail I immediately got some of the BEST trail magic! Jake and Bev a local couple had made lots of bags filled with fresh fruit. So after chatting for a bit I walked away. Holding a big bag of strawberries, blueberries, and watermelon. I had 16 miles to make by 7pm when dinner is served at the Resort. I needed to book it. So I pushed hard. Just about 6 miles in I ran into more trail magic. Cookie, Bobcat, and their Grandson Lang were out dropping off more candy and caprisuns for the trail magic near the road. They were so cute and kind. And I hope to see that Lang someday hikes the trail.
I continued on non-stop until I hit the Resort and even went off trail a couple of times to see cool shit. One was a terminal geyser, a geothermal steam vent in Lassen. It seems horrible but is basically just a bunch of steam coming out of rocks. Then there was the Boiling Springs which I thought was super cool. It was a weird blue color and so intriguing. I finally made it to the ranch at 6pm. I was wiped though. On the way in I met 2 cute ladies staying at the Resort. One used to be a park ranger and was telling me lots of stories. And how it’s been her dream forever to come stay here, it’s just crazy expensive, but she’s thrilled to finally be here. I got to the main lot and ran into a large table of other hikers. I went into the restaurant to get a drink and Captain Ramen came in. As we were chatting I got super light headed all the sudden and legit had to try so hard to keep standing. But I ordered a root beer and it was all good. Obviously I’m just crashing on all this damn sugar. The deal with Drakes Resort is that it’s a fancy ass place that allows hikers to come in, but they try to keep us as far from their guests as possible. And for dinners, we get the leftovers. But it’s $20. I was good to just grab some stuff out of the hiker box and go to camp, but Capt Ramen talked me into treating myself. It was fun to meet a large group of other hikers, although at the table Capt Ramen and I were the only ones who went through the Sierras. His girlfriend was here now hiking with him for a bit. Some of the others had left and went to Hawaii until the snow melted then came back to continue hiking. And then dinner……left disappointed. We were all still starving. We got a small salad, then I got some super delicious mushroom ravioli, and then creme brûlée. It was just not a lot for us hikers, luckily they had a ton of left over bread and we just started snagging that. I camped with all of them in the campground. We were surrounded by big trucks and tents. And families, who loudly spent the night camping there.