Mile: 1179.3 to 1202.4 plus 1.4 mile road walk to town (hitched back up)
One game that hikers play is miles by a time. Getting progressively more difficult it goes: 11 miles by 11am, 10 by 10, and 9 by 9. We managed our first of the trip today getting 11 by 11. Hiking the 16 miles toward Sierra City was relatively easy but there was plenty of climbing in the big descent to keep us honest. Most of it was forested with few views but we did end the section with a beautiful riparian canyon complete with Doug Firs, cedars, and our first oaks in about 500 trail miles. It even had two singing Pacific Wrens. The forest before that gave us our first looks at Evening Grosbeak even though we has heard them before and two different Pileated Woodpeckers for the first of the trip. It was also the first day since mile 750 where we didn't walk on snow. That's 450 trail miles! We reached the road by 1:30 and ended up walking the miles and a half to town as traffic was light.
We stayed in town through the heat of the afternoon organizing our food and putting way a giant burger from the deli. Finally about 4:30 we bummed a ride from a mountain biker heading from town to his campsite. He dropped us at the trail and we were off. What do you do after dropping several thousand feet to town? Climb back up! It was still brutally hot but thankfully the switchbacks were on the shady side of the mountain. We were climbing the Sierra Buttes and eventually made it high on the south side where we did a several mile long climbing traverse with tons of bushwhacking and exposure. Susan didn't like it at all. There was water at a spring most of the way up but no camping until we crested the ridge at 7150 feet. It was very late so we grabbed a flat spot and called it a long day.
Oh yeah- 1200 today!