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!


  1. There are often resources for the white middle class and especially young women. And we all love to help travelers and visitors. There are many on this planet who feel a god is not providing for them. It's important to see the larger picture so we can be wise, helpful, and godly people. And not entitled Americans.

  2. Hi Raven! It's yazmin. Been wondering where you guys ended up and am happy to read that y'all are doing well. I really enjoyed Free Bird's stories and your sweetness to be interested enough to talk to us. I was hoping to see you guys again and wanted to join you guys on one of your fun adventures, like the Rainbow gathering thing you guys went too. (:

    Well, we are still on the pct but had to turn around and head southbound instead because of the fires in oregon and washington. So far, we are in Mammoth taking another needed day off. (:

    Happy trail and hope to join you guys on a another adventure one day. Take care!! Btw, my trail name is Almost Robert's is Hollow Leg.

    Cheers friend! (: