Just Keep Walking: Barker Pass to Sierra City

As many of you might know already, I completed the Pacific Crest Trail on September 21, 2017! I felt the need to share this with you, as my posts are quite a bit behind, which I do apologize for! Although you are not reading along with my journey as it is happening, I hope you continue to read, and enjoy the journey in which changed my life. Thank you for your patience, continued encouragement, and support.

Day 78: Mile 1124.8 to Mile 1135.9

Miles: 11.1

Steps: 30,814

Elevation Gain: 1,800 feet

Elevation Loss: 2,000 feet

Sheryl dropped us off, where she picked us up from a few days prior, the Barker Pass Trailhead parking lot. We said our goodbyes, gave each other hugs and parted ways. Sheryl is such a wonderful person. I don’t know what I would have done without her.

The wildflowers surrounded the trail throughout the short 11 mile trek. Butterflies roamed amongst the wildflowers and flew around me as I walked by. The dragonflies filled the sky above the flowers. I thought to myself, “Is this real life?!”

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My stomach remained a bit of a hot mess the first few hours of our hike, but gradually got better throughout the afternoon.

Ranger and I decided to call it an early night so I could get a good night sleep, and so we could have an early day with more miles the following day.

We stopped at a perfect camp spot by a nice creek. We actually didn’t realize it was going to be such a waterless stretch, so we really needed the water. Ranger made an awesome campfire, we had ramen noodles and roasted marshmallows.

We were in bed by 8. A wonderful day it was.

Day 79: Mile 1135.9 to Mile 1160.9

Miles: 25

Steps: 67,285

Elevation Gain: 5,500 feet

Elevation Loss: 4,300 feet

Ranger and I were able to get an early start. Although initially I wasn’t feeling great, by lunch time, I was feeling much better.

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After 17.5 miles, I came to the Donner Pass Ski Area and after enjoying a nice cold 7UP from Reno Dave (Thanks Reno Dave!!), I made my way to the restaurant, a few hundred feet off the trail. Ranger was there waiting for me. I had a glorious cheeseburger, french fries, peach and raspberry pie with ice cream and a soda.

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The Donner Pass Ski Resort made it to my top 3 best on trail pie list. I had never been much of a pie person until the trail.

Donner Pass was named after the Donner Party, as I am sure you all have either heard jokes about the Donner Party, or know the story of the Donner Party. The Donner Party set out for California in 1846 via wagons (just like the game Oregon Trail, right?). It was apparently a high snow year in the Sierra and the members of the Donner Party were forced to wait out the severity of the weather conditions on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. The conditions were severe and some of the survivors resorted to cannibalism to survive the harsh conditions and starvation. Only 45 of the original 81 members of the Donner Party survived. It is a very interesting story. There are journal entries from the members of the Donner Party regarding the cannibalism and hardships. A very sad and unimaginable story.

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We hiked 7 or so more miles before coming to Peter Grub Hut, which is the first of many huts, that the northbound hiker would encounter along the PCT, where hikers and back country skiers can stay. It was pretty neat, but we chose to camp instead, as the hut was already pretty full.

Day 80: Mile 1160.9 to Mile 1195.4 – Sierra City

Miles: 34.5

Steps: 81,033

Elevation Gain: 4,500 feet

Elevation Loss: 7,500 feet

34.5 miles in 12 hours, with a total of an hours worth of breaks… I would say I was feeling much better. In fact, I had not felt that great since the desert, leading me to believe I had been sick for quite some time. This would explain why I was so sluggish and weak in the Sierra, beside the grueling snow travel, of course.

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Ranger and I parted ways because he wanted to get to the eclipse totality. He wanted to get more miles in than I was able to do at the time, and he was going to skip ahead eventually.

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Although the miles to Sierra City were a lot easier than previous miles had been with my illness, I felt the effects of the high mile day when I arrived in Sierra City. I did not eat very much throughout the day, as I did not have much of an appetite. My ear would also not pop. I figured this was because of the quick loss in elevation, but I struggled with this all evening.

When I arrived in Sierra City, I suppose I was expecting more of a city. I was wrong. It reminded me of the Wild West towns in movies. There was a small general store, the Red Moose Inn (which only had one or two rooms) and a restaurant. I had reached out to my mom via my GPS communicator that day to try and make a reservation for the hotel and she was able to do so.

Jim at the Buttes Resort is planning on opening up the restaurant across the street from his resort. Exciting for you 2018 hikers! Red Moose Cafe is closed Monday and Tuesday, so try to plan on arriving on a day it is open. I heard their burgers are amazing. They are open for breakfast and lunch only, but Jim is planning on being open for dinner. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed by the time I arrived that evening.

I got into my small hotel room, with no air conditioning, no tv and no wifi. It was very overpriced for what it offered and I was very disappointed. The owner was super nice, so I hate saying that, but the only reason I did a 34 mile day was to get into a cool room with a shower and laundry. The room never cooled off; it was cooler outside than in the room. My body was definitely in need of a good rest, after a long day!

Find out if I continued to hike alone in my next blog post!

14 thoughts on “Just Keep Walking: Barker Pass to Sierra City

  1. I followed your journey on Instagram after you ceased posting on the blog just to see how you were doing, but you write so well and your blog is so full of info that I am tickled that you are finishing up your blog.

    Congrats for sticking it out and pushing your fears to the back when you really needed to.
    The trail will provide!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Daniele! I have been enjoying your blog and IG posts.

    Congratulations on the completion of your PCT journey!! A tremendous accomplishment!!! Let me know next time you’re in Seattle. I’d love to hear more of your travels.

    Take care

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I did not know you had finished! I guess I didn’t realize you were on IG, too. Congratualations!! We were in Mazama probably as you came through, so sorry didn’t get to see you. What an accomplishment on probably one of the most difficult years to have done it. If you ever get near Seattle, look me up (I think you’ll know where to find me). Love to share some stories over a beer. Now I’ll go find your IG account…….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I probably shouldn’t have ended with a post about me in the hospital without sharing that I continued on with the trail! Sorry it’s taken me so long to post! Thank you for your excitement and continuing to follow my journey!!

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  4. Congratulations on finishing. Between the snow and the fires, this was an extremely tough year to hike the PCT. I hope the post hike funk is staying away.

    I’m happy you decided to finish the blog. Like some other posts indicated, I’m excited to read about your hike. Your writing and photography make this the best hiking blog of 2017 in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so excited that you are continuing your blog! I love reading all the details about your day to day life on trail… the highs, the lows, the fears, the joys, the challenges, the successes! Many other trail blogs went silent as well. I can only imagine how difficult it is to keep up with blogging while on trail.

    Instagram gave me the fix I needed and I celebrated as each hiker reached the Northern Terminus, but I was also sad wondering what was going to sustain and entertain me from then on out. And, then suddenly, y’all are resuming your blogs! Hooray!

    Congratulations on completing your journey and thank you so much for sharing so honestly and openly! I wish you only the best for whatever journey comes next!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I am glad to hear I was not the only one who had trouble keeping up!! It was hard work! Thank you so much for making me chuckle and for continuing to follow along!! I’m headed to the east coast for a week long road trip this week and then out to San Diego for the winter!

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  6. I am so excited that you actually finished. When your posts stopped after noting that you had checked into a hospital, I was sure that we would not not be hearing from you. So, I eagerly await the updates to your adventure to Canada. Hopefully, you will not give up on hiking, and better yet, that our paths would cross some day.

    Liked by 1 person

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