Day 71 (Tuesday, June 28): mi 1174.94 to Haypress Creek Side Trail (mi 1192.93) + 3.5 miles to Sierra City, 21.49 miles. (up/down: +1712/-4766ft)
So I’m pretty sure the deer hung out and wandered around our camp a while last night. I also feel asleep before I put in my ear plugs and mid night I heard the weirdest shrieking noise – one I’ve never heard of before.
We packed up and left camp around 6:37a. Since we were dry camping, we opted to skip breakfast until we got to the creek. There was mediocre climbs, made much better with the cooler morning air, vast views, and a partner to motivate me. Thanks Annette! About 2 hours later we got to Mule Ears Creek for a nice hour long break and breakfast.
After breakfast we went through some more rolling hills. We were keeping an eye out for Jackson Reservoir as that was where Annette was going to stay for a day or two. We kept seeing lakes and assumed that was the reservoir. We were always wrong until we knew for certain we were right. It was a big beautiful lake. Soon after views of the reservoir, we dipped down to eventually meet a road. This is were we would separate – I’d continue on towards Sierra City and she would take a rest day at the lake and campground. I must say, I was so glad to have had a partner to journey with the last day and a half. That snow would have been even physically rougher and mentally tougher alone. I was happy to have a second set of eyes, a photographer, and conversation to distract me when the hiking wasn’t best (i.e. climbs). We said our goodbyes and headed separate ways.
Of course the trail went back up in the heat of the afternoon. I struggled some, but continued to push on and was hopeful as Sierra City was less than a day away. I finally reached the high point for the day and started back down. Wow, the way down would have been awful for anyone going up. Steep, rocky, and exposed. Yuck!
I stopped for lunch at Milton Creek at about 2:15. It was a beautiful shaded spot with a nice little seat. I had planned on stopping just short of town at Wild Plum Campground…if it weren’t so early Milton would be a splendid place to camp.
It was an intensely hot afternoon once out of the shade. I took the alternate road walk through Wild Plum to get to town and it was hot and exposed. It was still plenty early when I got to the campground and I pushed through the heat to get to Sierra City around 4:30 where I could camp at the church for free.
I was around people again! Though per usual stayed to myself mostly. I hung out on the store porch using the Wi-Fi and sorting my resupply for the next stretch to Belden in the company of Perma-smile and Rafiki. I contemplated how I’d get up the long steep stretch up (3000+ ft climb) the Butte in the morning. There was a trailhead about 8 or 9 miles up near Packer Lake. The store owner said there was a senior shuttle that might be able to give a ride, but I had no luck getting a hold of them. I took a quick shower, surprised by the ice cold water. Nonetheless still very refreshing!
Some time later, I asked another store worker if she knew of someone who might be headed up that way in the morning. A friend of hers worked at the Lodge on the Lake but she also couldn’t get a hold of her. Some time later she found me and said her husband could take me early in the morning on his way to work. This would mean I’d have to miss breakfast at the Red Moose Cafe and get up early, but it was a guaranteed ride at 6:30 a. I saw a sign at the store with a menu for Packer Lake Lodge that look like it had some good options. I decided I’d take the ride and stop at the Lodge (which was 3 miles from the TH) for breakfast instead.
Relieved that I’d get to bypass the climb, I relaxed for the remainder of the evening. The store was closing and they brought out some refreshing complementary passion fruit ice tea..yum! I also ran into Druid again who I originally met in the desert. I finished up using Wi-Fi and charging my electronics and headed to bed.