Waking promptly at 5 am was tough, but we got it done with the thought of reaching a hitch to Quincy early enough to allow us a relaxed town visit. The climb out from Bear Creek was brutal. It was a steep switch back gradient for almost 3000 ft of elevation gain over 5 miles, predominantly through dense and humid forest whose shade seemed to do little against the morning heat. I’ve never sweated so much in my life. As I neared the top my shirt was drenched as if I had plunged into a river, my pole handles were saturated and there was a near constant drip from the top of my nose.
After sometime we finally broke out the woods and into the ridge line where we broke our fast upon Lookout Rock whose horizon to horizon views stunned us with the density and size of the forest. It was a short descent from there to Big Creek Road where we’d be hitching to Quincy from. We found Reptar, a hiker we met at Donner Ski Ranch who was finishing his previous PCT attempt from 2017. We waited a little while before Pat, a lovely old timer from Quincy, gave us a lift to town telling us along the way how the towns biggest business was tree milling and how the fireman of the area were heros.
We made for SafeWay immediately to resupply for the up and coming three day stretch to Chester. Chores done, we now went to Pangea Cafe and Pub, who served us incredible nachos, burgers and beer; Janes Bakery, for a little summin’ sweet; and finally Brew Ha Ha cafe, for smoothies, milkshake and digesting time. Full to the brim and overwhelmed with the bustle of town we hitched back to trail via a lift from Mike, an ex-state trooper. He turned out to be Magic Mike, returning after dropping us off to hand over the Tyvek ground sheet we had left on his back seat shortly after we realised our mistake.
We only planned to walk a short way further, but after reaching the Bucks Lake Road 4 miles down the line we had to walk a further 2.5 to find camp. We said goodbye to the setting sun as we dipped into the dark woods on that slope where we’d find sleep among the trees.