PCT 2019: Days 113 and 114, Flipping to the Sierra

You won't need a gutter to sleep in tonight

Inside Redlight Hostel, Truckee, California

Leaping ahead 580 miles of trail isn't easy. It involves more than just getting in a rental car and driving to a new trailhead.

Bluejay, Sunkist, and I needed to make sure we had the appropriate gear, a solid resupply plan, and an updated thru-hiker permit to resume our hike in the Sierra Nevada.

To give ourselves enough time to handle these details, we decided to stay in Ashland for one day. Then we'll take another day to drive down to Truckee, California, the closest town to where we'll resume our hike.

DateTuesday, August 27, 2019
WeatherClear sky and hot, with a high temperature in the upper 90s
Today's Miles0.0
Trip Miles1717.7

With a zero day to take care of our tasks, we allowed ourselves to be lazy in the morning. Eventually, we decided we were hungry, so we went to a small cafe for a late breakfast.

During our meal, we worked out plans for the day, starting with a phone call to the Pacific Crest Trail Association. Each of us got on the phone and requested a change to our permits.

A printed copy of a PCT hiker permit

Although thru-hikers aren't required to carry this particular permit, permits are required in national parks and some wilderness areas. The permit issued by the PCTA to thru-hikers covers all of these locations.

The permit changes were easily made but we still needed printed copies to carry with us on the trail, so we next drove to Ashland's public library to use a computer and printer.

On the way, a deer darted across the four-lane street and in front of our car. I had to hit the brakes hard to avoid hitting it.

With permits now in hand, I dropped Sunkist and Bluejay off at the motel and then drove back to Callahan's Mountain Lodge to pick up Dave. He stayed there last night and we wanted to spend a little more time with him before we left for California.

Returning to Ashland, Dave and I picked up Bluejay and Sunkist, and then we ran more errands. We went to a local outfitter store, a sandwich shop for lunch, and a grocery store to resupply for the next part of the trail.

Then after Sunkist and Bluejay had a chance to sort and repackage their food, we went back to the post office so they could mail resupply boxes ahead. I didn't need to do that because I arranged for Kim to mail my boxes.

Caldera Brewery, Ashland, California

After all of that running around, Dave said he was ready to go back to Callahan's. Unable to convince him to continue hiking with us in California, we sadly said goodbye to him. I then drove him back to his hotel.

After I returned to Ashland, Sunkist, Bluejay, and I ended the day with dinner at Caldera Brewery.

DateThursday, August 29, 2019
WeatherVariable cloudiness with temperatures in the 90s
Today's Miles0.0
Trip Miles1717.7

Driving from Ashland to Truckee would take about six hours. We didn't want to get there too late because we would have to return our rental car.

The motel advertised a free breakfast, but that only amounted to donuts and coffee. Still, it was a help for us to quickly get on the road.

Weed, California

The route we took went through the town of Weed. Thanks to California's legalization of marijuana, it's not surprising that the town was cashing in on its name. "I (Heart) Weed" signs and merchandise could be seen everywhere.

The town's name actually came from Abner Weed's name, who migrated to Northern California after the U. S. Civil War and started a lumber company.

A newspaper of the time described Weed as the "Sodom and Gomorrah of Siskiyou County," but today it seemed like any other sleepy small town.

Later, when our route took us to the much smaller town of Old Station, we saw a sign saying there were no services ahead for the next 51 miles. The time was just before 11 a.m., but we decided we should stop for lunch at a diner.

The PCT passes within two-tenths of a mile of Old Station. We figured we'd be stopping at the diner again when we return this way on the trail after finishing the Sierra.

The food was good but the staff was slow and disorganized today. I hoped for better service the next time we are there.

Getting back on the road, an approaching driver veered into my lane momentarily while trying to pass a vehicle in front. A few minutes later, another driver did the same thing.

After almost being t-boned and almost hitting a deer in Ashland, I was feeling like a moving target. Thankfully, we had no more incidents like that and were able to arrive safely in Truckee before 3 p.m.

Redlight Hostel, Truckee, California

We went first to where we would stay tonight, a hostel called Redlight. If that seems like an unusual name for a hostel, seeing it will help you understand. The interior was decorated as an Old West brothel. Allegedly, that's what this building was in Truckee's early days.

The time was too early to check-in, but we were allowed to drop off our packs while we returned the rental car.

A bunk room in Redlight Hostel

The sleeping rooms of the hostel were also unusual. Each bed was like a sleeper berth in an old train, which provided more privacy than most hostels.

I often prefer to stay in a motel instead of a hostel, but this place was so unique I was glad we stayed here.

After dinner at a restaurant across the street from the hostel, we returned to our bunks. We went to bed early because we will resume our hike tomorrow.

We're about to see a big change of scenery compared to Washington and Oregon, but that's not all that will change.

By now I probably should have seen that change coming, but I didn't.

I'm back on dry land once again
Opportunity awaits me like a rat in the drain
We're all hunting honey with money to burn
Just a short time to show you the tricks that we've learned
If the boys all behave themselves here
Well, there's pretty young ladies and beer in the rear
You won't need a gutter to sleep in tonight
Oh, the prices I charge here will see you alright


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.