Just before 9am I throw on my puffy jacket, hobble down to the motel office and pay for a second night. Back in bed, I work on the blog as the sound of rain and thunder resuming erases any guilt for staying off trail. Angler and I nod in agreement: It’s a good day to be inside. Besides, Stephen is flying down in a week, and I have a bit of extra time to get from here to Sierra City. It seems far better to spend the time out of the weather, than sit around later twiddling thumbs in the sun.
Around lunchtime, I venture out toward the Natural Food Store. I am cutting across a parking lot when a man passes me on a bicycle, shouting out “Hello wild lady walking in the rain.” When I repeat the story, someone points out that PCT hikers are the only pedestrians in this spread out town.
The Natural Food Store is a wonderful surprise, an amazing little shop, bright, organized and impressively stocked. I grab a local sourdough baguette, vegan cheese, nectarines, a cucumber and somewhat inexplicably, a full pound bag of fresh, probiotic, garlic-dill sauerkraut. And a Rice Dream ice cream sandwich to go.
I take my bounty to the outfitter, host of a local PCT “base camp.” They’ve set up a cozy room in the back, complete with sofa, coffee maker, wifi, laptop, hiker boxes and a very sweet dog. I share the couch with the dog and do phone and internet things while working my way through the food.
Back at the room, the TV is being regularly interrupted by National Weather Service Alerts: Flash Floods, Thunderstorms, and rather incongruously, a sand storm. Nevada, it turns out, is very near. There are even reports of golfball-sized hail denting cars across town.
I chat with hikers staying downstairs and Bison tells me a story. Apparently Angler found a sledge hammer near Forester pass, picked it up and carried all ten pounds of it 160 miles over all the passes to Tuolumne. I confirm the tale with Angler, who adds that he dubbed it the “hundred mile hammer” and inscribed it with the challenge: “let’s see how far this hammer an go!” Another hiker picked it up and Angler (who still currently carries a namesake fishing rod and a gold pan) estimates that it is about two hundred miles up the trail from us now. I will leave you with his photo as evidence: