I rolled up to Sawyers Bar Road and saw two other hikers there. That’s not always a good sign when hitching, but shortly after I got there a red four door Jeep rolled through and offered two of us a ride. Obviously the two hikers before me were the ones to go, but in my sweaty, thirsty, hungry ire, I decided with certainty that I could have fit in his car. Oh well. About 25 minutes later a truck came by and picked me up. Two elderly brothers from the Bay Area and Orange County were headed into Etna and were happy to give me a ride. I was happy to answer all their questions about miles, what I ate, why I’m not afraid of bears, etc.
After getting into town I carried out my newish ritual of getting a big-ass can of cheap tea (Arizona, Peace, etc.) and then sat in front of the library. I checked in with Cate to make sure there was room–thankfully there was. I then resupplied at the Dollar General as healthily (but cheaply) as possible and was only moderately successful. I’ve decided I’m going to carry 4 days of food out and go all the way to Ashland, not doing a full resupply in Seiad Valley. I’ll eat a meal there and pick up my new pair of shoes, but I’ll only top off my snacks as needed.
I grabbed dinner at Paystreak Brewing, a local brewery with some good prices. I got an order of sun tacos, vegetarian tacos made with sunflower seeds, beets, an other veggies. They were delicious! They were out of their own brew, so I grabbed a couple of pints of guest IPAs.
It was also open mic night at Paystreak, and I saw a hiker named Spunky perform a few songs. I met Spunky in the Sierra and he was hauling ass. I was surprised to catch up to him, and more surprised to hear some really cool songs from him. Now I understand why he carries a ukelele on trail.
I spent the rest of my day kicking back. Hopefully I can get out of town early and get a head start on a big day.
Main Photo: Hundreds of burned pine trees heading into Etna on August 5.