Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Day 104: day full of cool people, and tragedy :(

Tuesday 7/31/12
Miles 1255-1265 (10 miles)
Elevation 6,000'

Well today was an interesting day. It's days like this where I am so glad Kyle and I don't hike on a set schedule. We just kind of roll with whatever happens. Lol.

Scenery was awesome, as it is everyday. :) I met these two really cool section hiker dudes. They are both schoolteachers from Valencia, CA. Seems like the school teachers I meet on the trail are extra cool. Like those two JMT gals we met in Yosemite the day before we did Halfdome. They were both teachers too, and possibly two of my favorite non-pct hikers I've met on trail. Anyways, these two guys are ending in Belden, and were going to Reno after. I told them about Sushi Pier (we went to the Tahoe one, its an all you can eat, made to order, sushi joint). Oooo it's so good. One of the dudes said, "I'd put them out of business!". Good luck! Kyle and I tried. We ate til we almost couldn't move. Lol :D. Oh my goodness that place was soooooo good. I hope the Reno one is as epic as the Tahoe one!

We decided to hitch into Quincy early and bypass 25 miles of the PCT. We were almost out of fuel, Kyle was almost out of food, I wanted to avoid the crapload of poison oak on the descent into Belden, and steep downhills aren't Kyle's forte. Plus he smashed his toe pretty badly coming out of Tahoe (we thought it was broken), and downhills hurt.

It's interesting; statistically, I have a much greater success rate hitchiking in middle-of-nowhere locations than in big towns. The PCT crossed a windy little mountain road with almost no traffic going our way. However, we got a ride from the 6th car that passed. The first car actually turned around and came back, apologized that they couldn't give us a ride because they were full, and offered us water. Thanks dude!! Two cars passed. Then a us forest service truck pulled over, apologized that he couldn't pick us up, but said he'd alert his friends coming our way to look for us. Thanks dude!! Another car passed. Then we got a ride from 2 guys going home to Quincy from Chico; they had to detour because hwy 70 was bumper to bumper due to a car accident in a tunnel. This took about 1.3 hours. When we hitched out of Bishop, *hundreds* of cars passed by before we got a ride.

Quincy is a cool town. It's a really big small-town, if that makes any sense. We ate pizza. Uuuuuuggh we were so hungry! Lol! Kyle rehydrated with about a gallon of coke. We were both craving soda. I dunno what it is, neither of us normally crave soda but for some reason, the cold bubbliness of soda is soooo yummy. And for me it's diet coke that I crave. From a fountain machine. Lol. Weird.

We didn't hitch out of Quincy til around 8:30pm. I didn't think there was any way we were going to get a ride. It was late, almost dark, and not much traffic coming our way. Then a car pulls over. Cool!! Zach and Bibi were actually going to Belden (30 miles away) to look at the fire. What luck!

So, I didn't even know there was a fire until I got to Quincy. Some hikers ahead of me mentioned it. However, back then it was a small fire, by the time we got to Belden it was 800+ acres, burning the hill right above belden, which is a tiny tiny town in a deep canyon. YIKES!! It was so nuts, there was glowing red and smoke all over the hillside! Also, the PCT was closed, because it went though the burn area. Guess we'll have to find a detour. Oh, Zach is a firefighter for the US Forest Service. He goes to work tomorrow after having 2 days off. He's gonna be busy. O.o. It was cool to get the inside scoop on the fire.

Anyhow, I mentioned earlier there was a car accident on hwy 70. Here's the tragedy part. :( the US Forest Service evacuated all the campgrounds in that area (there are many) due to the fire. There is an elderly couple around 70 years old that were campground hosts for 20 years at one of the campgrounds there. Since they had to leave, they drove to their home in a nearby town. They never made it home. They were the ones involved in the car wreck in the tunnel on hwy 70. The wife died. They were married for 50 years. This was the info I got from a local ranger. That is just awful awful awful awful awful to hear. Uuuuuuugh.... :(

So the 4 of us, me Kyle Zach and Bibi, were informed of this and also the inside scoop on the fire, from the ranger lady that drove by, as we were at one of the hwy pullouts watching the fire burn. It was a very very somber evening :(

Zack and Bibi offered to take us in for the night. Thanks guys!!! We were going to just throw our sleeping bags in the trees off the side of the road somewhere. They let us camp in their yard instead, and let us use their shower and even gave us beer! Wow!! They are so awesome. <3 I took a pic of them. And their dog Gizmo is sooooooo cute!! Oh my gosh what a cool dog. I took pics of the dog too. Lol. Anyhow, they have an awesome house on a dirt road off hwy 70. Their entry room is so epic; they had all their rock climbing gear and mountain bike helmets and stuff stored there. Epic room of fun!! Lol :) They also had a lot of Tibetan/Indian artwork here and there. I wish I got to talk to them more about that, I am absolutely fascinated by the Tibetan and Indian culture.

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