Monday, August 18, 2014

Hospitality and Generosity in Sierra City

After getting a ride into Sierra City from John the firefighter, we were dropped off at Red Moose Inn and greeted right away by Rorschach, a thru-hiker we met at Paradise Lake. Then despite being closed until dinner, the friendly couple and owners of the inn, Bill and Margaret, invited us in to sit at the bar and chat with them. They had no rooms available but told us of another place we could check out in the town.

Now we had heard from some south-bounders who had already been through town that there may be a nice area to stealth-camp along the river. When we heard that the other inn was over $100 a night, we chose to camp. And it was well worth it! I can't reveal the details on how to find the place (some locals wouldn't be too happy to have tons of people camping there), but here's a drawing that I completed near the area:

North Fork, Yuba River. Drawn 7/12-13/2014. This was such a nice river to swim in and to hear from within my sleeping bag.
The evening we first arrived. We stayed in town for two nights and enjoyed a "zero day," a day with no hiking miles.

 We walked to the other end of this small, cozy town to have dinner at Bob's. He was in front of the bar, on the side of the highway, grilling up food for the locals and hikers. Music was blaring from within the bar, and hikers hung out in groups inside, across the street at Larry's store, and all along the road. What a block party, and Bob and Larry were loving it. After Larry closed his store he sat outside of the bar, chatting it up with everyone. If anyone needed anything from the store, he wasn't opposed to opening the doors to let them in. Bob was teasing everyone while grilling, and he adored me. He cooked Freebird and me some polish sausage and directed us inside to put on all the fixins and to help ourselves to as much potato salad and watermelon as we wanted! Of course we piled everything on! Bob strolled in and laughed when he saw that Freebird added a pound of potato salad to his plate. Freebird said, "Well what do you expect from a hiker, Bob?"

We also enjoyed some dessert from Larry's store, lots of ice cream of course! That's one of our main staples when we arrive in town. One of the things we tried were It's It ice cream sandwiches, made in San Francisco. I've never seen these in Indiana. We adore them now, especially the mint and cappuccino flavors, and buy them whenever we come across them.

That night, at our campsite, we were greeted by some other hikers who found the place as well. Rorschach, Rose, and Meghan. Meghan set up a hammock that us three girls swung on, and we talked and laughed for hours. The guys went to get cold spring water for all of us from the gazebo in town. After they were in bed, us girls decided it was probably time to get some sleep.

In the morning, Freebird and I went to the Red Moose for breakfast. The girls had asked that I wake them up to join us, but I just couldn't bring myself to do that to them! They looked so peaceful, sleeping there. We sat at the bar and talked with Bill, Margaret, and the hikers. One thru-hiker named Monkey Wrench sat next to us. He kept walking outside to make sure his friends that were coming to town would find him.

 Rose, Rorschach, and Meghan. They arrived for breakfast after we finished eating. We ran into and chatted with other hikers too. Rob, Yazmin, McButter, and Real Time to name a few. On the trail, we had met Real Time and McButter at one of our swimming areas, just before arriving in town. They crack us up! McButter refused to tell me how he got his trail name!

A mileage sign outside the Red Moose.

While I talked with some of the hikers and exchanged contact information, Freebird was standing out front with Monkey Wrench and his friends who found him. They had brought Monkey Wrench lots of food, so much that he couldn't carry it all. He generously gave much of this food to us, including three packs of Emergen-C which Free Bird got addicted to over the next few weeks!

 After taking showers, doing laundry, checking the hiker box for more food, and talking to everyone for hours at the Red Moose, we went over to Larry's store for a burger. The Gut Buster - 1 pound of meat with everything on it! It's too much for one person, so Freebird and I split it. We met Larry's wife, Cathy, the woman who conceptualized this masterpiece, as well as the man who put it together for us. That man told us that he would like to hike the PCT one day, and Freebird gave him the trail name, "Gut Buster."

We ran into a couple of south-bounders that have met Freebird on another hike, Machine and Step. We also met another girl named Machine, and her hiking companion, Uber Dude.

Uber Dude and Coyote sparring outside Larry's store.

 We enjoyed another delicious dinner from Bob that evening, and then talked some more with 
Machine and Step. Machine kindly let me borrow her phone to call my brother, Matt.

Machine, Freebird, and Step.
 We camped again that night, and then the following morning we returned to the Red Moose for breakfast. We arrived too late though, so we went to Larry's instead. But first, Bill and Margaret gave us a AAA map of northern California and a sewing kit for the journey and wished us well. They and so many others in Sierra City have been so kind! Over the course of the trip, I'm seeing more and more how God provides whenever we need anything. I'm learning to trust more and have no fear of the future.

I'm also learning to be open to God's guidance and direction and to not make any plans set in stone. We arrived at Larry's just as the store was opening and were the first to order a breakfast burrito. Over an hour later Gut Buster finished preparing our meal. Machine and Step had ordered food after us and had already finished eating before ours was done. We were frustrated. I carried the burrito outside to our table to find Freebird talking with a woman he had met before, who had become inspired to hike the trail this year after learning about him last time. Just amazing! If our food had arrived sooner, we would have left town and never seen this hiker! Things do happen for a reason, and this was definitely a huge lesson in letting go.

Our last view of the beautiful town of Sierra City, as we waited for a ride.
Leaving Sierra City behind and skipping ahead to another section of trail, we had some amazing hitches that day. More provisions from God! But the details of that will have to wait for the next post!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sketchbook Art

Since I've gotten several requests from people to see the things I've been sketching as I travel (especially from my Dad, another artist who has offered me invaluable input and advice over the years), I'm deciding to post a few of my favorites. These are all from before hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, when I was living with the moneyless tribe in Utah and Colorado.

My first morning in Moab, at a camp near town known as "White Trash Camp." 5/5/2014.
Another piece drawn at the same camp. 5/13/2014.

Drawn in Fruita, CO during a stay with Daniel's family. Inspired by all the times Daniel has serenaded us with his guitar, as well as by being a constant inspiration of authenticity. 5/20-21/2014.

A quote I wrote on the back of this drawing:

"Be a sweet melody in the great orchestration, instead of a discordant note.
The medicine this sick world needs is love.
Hatred must be replaced by love,
and fear by faith that love will prevail."
--Peace Pilgrim
Fruita, CO. 5/21-22/2014.

The quote that accompanies this one:

"Soul bird rise, lift your eyes, spread your wings, prepare to fly.
This is the moment of your life.
Go ahead and fly."
Fruita, CO. 5/23-24/2014.
Drawn in Moab in all 3 caves in which our community lived. 5/28-30/2014.
Guest Cave. 6/2/2014.
Drawn at Raven's Roost mainly. Finished at KZMU while awaiting Daniel's radio show. 6/5-7/2014.

This is a piece I did just before leaving for the Rainbow Gathering. I had a note that I would leave in my cave to let the others know I went to town, and one day I decided to decorate it a bit. Here's the result! 6/27/2014. Drawn under a mulberry tree in the canyon while reading the Dhammapada, then finished in the Guest Cave due to rainfall.

Raven's Roost. Inspired by a pendant that Freebird found in the sand, which became a part of my necklace. 6/15-18/2014.

Drawn 7/8/2014 in my tent at the Rainbow Gathering outside Heber City, Utah.
Last time I was in Fruita, Daniel's father admired my drawings and told me that the only thing he could draw is flies. I told him I would literally draw some flies for him then! It took awhile for me to finally sit down and draw it, and the page smudged a bit, but here it is!

As the posts continue from the Pacific Crest Trail and onward, I'm now going to accompany them with drawings from those times. But until then, you can at least see these pieces! Enjoy! :)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Starting the PCT at Donner Pass!

After a restful night in Truckee, Freebird and I stopped at a gas station for lunch before beginning the Pacific Crest Trail at Donner Pass. Some Stellar Jays and Cowbirds joined in the feast with us.

A beautiful and kind Australian couple picked us up and drove us to the trailhead, 
way farther than we were asking for. What an amazing start to the journey!

After filling up on water, we began. This stretch from Donner Pass to Sierra City would have 
colorful wildflowers everywhere. During this trek, I believe we saw about 300 kinds! 
We are fortunate to have seen them at their peak!

The staghorn lichens on the conifers indicate how high the snow fell in the area.

Castle Peak. It was spectacular seeing this for miles as we approached it.

We went through a couple of culverts that took us under I-80.

A rest area along I-80. As we passed, we met a trucker taking a break and hiking the trail.

Snack break!

Sunset as we settled into our first campsite on the trail. We camped on top of a ridge 
overlooking a beautiful spring-fed stream filled with at least 30 types of wildflowers. 
Here's some pictures from around the stream the following morning...

Along the trail were fields of mule's ear.

Another view of Castle Peak.

We've reached Castle Peak!

Peter Grubb hut, a refuge for hikers and skiers. The front door is on the second floor because of heavy snowfall in the winter.
A meadow nearby where we stopped to eat lunch.

The same meadow from above.

Alpine meadows full of flowers!

Paradise Lake.

Third day on the trail... Soon we stop at this beautiful spring at the top of the hill.

We got our hair and shirts wet in the spring's frigid waters - "Air conditioning!"

Happy tree.

Walking the crest and enjoying the breeze!

A group of five thru-hikers.  
Two hikers follow the trail with Sierra Buttes in the background.

Ponderosa pine. Stopping to smell its vanilla-scented bark is always a wonderful treat.
Trail magic - a leaking water truck! What a relief to soak our clothes and hair before beginning another ascent!

Home Girl, a woman we met at the water truck and then hiked with for awhile.

Another shot of Home Girl.
Snow flower.

A huge Ponderosa pine!
Jackson Meadow Reservoir and the Sierra Buttes. We camped here for the night. I slept beneath two 300-year-old fragrant trees - a cedar and a Ponderosa pine.

The sunrise the following morning was just as spectacular...

A PCT sign, swallowed by the tree.

An old gold miner's shack.
Morning dew.

Another spring. I'm amazed at how many springs we come across 
on the trail, despite a 3-year drought in California.

East Fork Yuba River. We stopped here to swim and eat lunch for hours before reaching Sierra City.

Sierra Buttes! Sierra City is near, at the base of the mountain.

We reached a beautiful canyon just before hitching in to Sierra City, where we could swim in Love Pool. The bluish-gray color of the rocks seems so surreal.

                                                                     Love Pool.

Freebird swimming out to check the depth for T-Bo and The Zone, so they could jump off the cliff.

This amusing thru-hiker entertained us as he climbed up to jump off the cliff with T-Bo.

We walked up the trail with T-Bo and The Zone until we reached the highway, then we caught a ride into Sierra City with John, a firefighter who resides there.We slept two nights at a secret spot along the Yuba River, hung out with some fun hikers, and met lots of amazing residents of the town. Details and more pictures will be in the next post!