Day 83: Entering the Sierra Buttes

Day 83
July 10
1197.5-1208.8
11.3 miles

Fun Size had advised me to get up early and station myself for breakfast, as it was a very slow process. I ended up waiting for nearly an hour before they were even ready to start taking orders. First, the regular patron had to be attended to. I didn’t know that the orders would be taken from the furthest seat on the left of the bar, so it took quite awhile to get to me. I was having a hard time breathing as I sat next to a thru-hiker that obviously hadn’t showered, but I didn’t have the courage to move to another seat. Margaret proceeded to cook the meals one by one in the order that they were taken. I couldn’t understand how a place that called itself a restaurant was unable to make a batch of pancakes, eggs, or bacon! It was an excruciatingly slow process! Feather had appeared in the morning and said that he had gone into Truckee the day before to retrieve a package and ended up in the hospital after ordering gluten free bread, but receiving bread with gluten! He repeatedly vomited and had to have IVs placed in his veins for several hours. Meanwhile, his friends had gone on ahead. He hoped to catch up to them. Although the breakfast took forever, I was stuck waiting for my package to arrive anyway. The husband said the earliest he could pick it up was 10:00. However, 10:00 came and went and by 12:45, he still had not checked with the post office!
In the meantime, I went out to the backyard to start packing up my things and sort through my food. I was still feeling awful, and with no sleep on top of that, tears came easily. Dan took off with his brother and I said I would probably not see him again, as he planned on finishing by August 24! That meant that he would need to average 35 miles per day!
After realizing that the owner was not helping me retrieve my package, I went to the post office myself. I was told that if I had it sent to the Inn, I would not be able to pick it up and that I would have to wait for the owner to come down. This town was another center of bad energy! The woman finally said she would look and tell me if the package was at least there. The pile was right beside her and she quickly saw my name! I walked out, feeling frustrated by the lack of assistance and the time I was losing. Before I opened the door, she decided she would give me the box if I showed her my ID. She scanned my driver’s license and said that she didn’t see ‘Wendy’ anywhere on it. I explained that Wendy was the name I went by. She hesitated and then finally handed me the box!
I ordered some lunch at the deli with Emma and waited another half an hour for the sandwich to be made. I also tried Skyping with my Swiss friend, but the connection was too weak to be able to converse! Nothing was easy around here!
The post office closed at 2pm (or rather 1:50), so I quickly had to sort through my new box and ship all of the extra food home. Then, I had to re-pack everything. A man asked if that was my water bottle on the table and told me it was leaking. Could he have at least set it upright instead of watching the water drip out?
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I trimmed my toenails, collected more water, and walked up the road. Fortunately, a nice man stopped and drove me to the trail head. It was now 3:00! I could no longer afford to wait for anymore care packages if they weren’t there when I arrived. With a heavy pack, I started the climb, happy to at least be back home on the PCT, where I was largely in control, and where I felt the happiest.
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Although it was very warm out, I took my time and steadily plodded along. A man descending even told me that I was doing well! I had the trail to myself and some space to think. I was proud of what I had accomplished out here by myself so far.
I finally emerged from the woods and came out to an open ridge. I could see the path of the trail ahead of me. The wind picked up and made stopping unpleasant, so I continued to walk.
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I had thought that I was finished with the Sierras when I reached Echo Lake, but the naturalist informed me that I was about to start the Sierra Buttes! Every day, I’m learning….
Two guys had their tents set up in the woods at 6:30. I wondered why they wanted to stop so early! I kept walking and as the light began to disappear, started scouting out a spot to camp. I ended up finding a relatively flat spot in some low growth on the top of a climb. I set up my cowboy camp, cooked some pasta, and watched another amazing sunset, followed by the rising of the sliver of moon. I love camping in high, open places and I love that I had already seen so many more beautiful sunsets on this trail than I ever did on the AT!
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I looked at the profile of trail ahead and saw that there was a 5,00 foot descent into Belden and then a 5,000 foot climb back out of it! Oh, boy…

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