July 10, 2022
Quincy via Bucks Lake Road at mile 1267.9 to mile 1268.7
0.8 PCT miles (now THAT’s a nero)
I wake up and am so conscious of being comfortable and clean. I’m lying on a pillow. I have a blanket. There are no mosquitoes around my head. There’s a glass of water right next to me, and when I get up to go to the bathroom, I don’t have to squat. This is living.
I didn’t sleep well, though, so I sort of snooze on and off for a while. Then I mess around on the internet, write for a bit, and enjoy being inside. Eventually Debra gets up and the pups come running over to us. It’s so fun cuddling with these wiggly little dudes. Turbo especially is just full of love. I take what turns out to be an amazing photo of Jumbo and Turbo, who are already best friends.
Debra makes us an amazing breakfast of huevos rancheros. We slather it in sour cream, salsa, and sriracha, and it is so tasty. I write for a long time, catching up, drinking coffee followed by tea, then take another shower. It’s all so luxurious.
Around lunchtime we pack up and Debra takes us to Safeway so we can resupply. In the parking lot we find Veto, who takes a photo of the three of us and our lovely trail angel. Thank you for everything, Debra!
After we resupply we repackage everything out in front of the store. Then we make a trip to the outfitter, where I exchange a pair of Darn Toughs with a hole in them for a fresh pair, which is sad because the holey ones are a really cool stripe pattern and aren’t that old—I got them in Mammoth. But alas. This trail is rough on gear, and it’s a free exchange so yolo.
Not much is open in town because it’s Sunday. We end up at a bar, the Plumas Club, for pints and snacks. While we’re there, all kinds of folks come up to us and ask about the trail. One guy, whose name also turns out to be James, starts chatting with Jumbo and buys him a beer. This town is so friendly! It’s kind of cool to feel like a bunch of raggedy trail celebrities just for walking really far.
After the bar we stop at Subway for some sandwiches (again, one of the only places open), then decide that it’s time to go back to the trail. Jumbo calls a trail angel whose number is listed in Guthook and who we’ve been in contact with before, but it goes straight to voicemail. I call Debra, but she’s not free to take us back to the PCT this evening. She tries to get us to come stay with her again, but we’re pretty ready to be back on trail. We hitch for about 10 minutes before a guy in an SUV pulling a trailer stops and lets us hop in. He and the woman in the passenger seat are smoking cigarettes and there’s a gas canister on the back seat, but they end up being pretty chill. The guy’s name is also James, so he and Jumbo bond (Hah. Jameses Bonding. The James Bond. No? I’ll see myself out.) They’re just going part of the way up, so we have to hitch again once they pull off. Not ideal, but I guess we could always camp right in these trees if we need to.
It doesn’t take long before another car stops for us. Maybe we’re getting better at hitching! It’s an older guy in a very clean Subaru. Everything seems cool until we all get in and he starts talking to us. His driving is a tad bit swervy and he’s slurring his words. Oh no. No no no. He’s weaving into the wrong side and taking the turns really hard. I start to freak out and cover my eyes. Up front, Jumbo starts doing his nervous thing where he talks really loudly and animatedly. I can tell he’s ready to grab the wheel if he really needs to. Please God, I think, just get us safely to the trailhead. After what feels like an eternity, the man pulls over at our crossing and lets us out. Land! We’ve made it! I can’t get out fast enough.
Listen, don’t drink and drive. And especially don’t drink and then pick up hikers and put them in danger. Okay? Okay. Thanks. Glad we got that cleared up.
Pumped up on adrenaline, we all collectively freak out for a minute as we gather our stuff and start walking. We meet a hiker named Danger, who has very cool glasses, at the trailhead. Jumbo and I don’t even bother to put on our hiking shoes; we just start moving and try to find a campsite. It’s mostly a ridge, though, and we wind up taking the flattest spot we can find on this dirt road type thing next to the trail. It’s cowboy camping sardines night. I love this! I like being sandwiched between my friends.
I’m Problem is, the mosquitoes are awful, and it’s too hot in our quilts. Jumbo hurls all the insults he can at the evil little jerks and sprays DEET on his hands and arms so that at least something can be out of the baking burrito of a quilt. I’ve got my head net on and followed J’s lead with the bug spray. Yay for being back on trail?