Chester – North Fork Feather River
I had a late morning behind the church, talking to Foxfire and the Germans, who were very clean. We compared fingertips. I am still filthy. The dirt is permanent.
I had some breakfast at the place across the street. I went with the savory choice, then contemplated an order of French toast. I should’ve got French toast. I regretted not getting toast for many hours afterwards. The cafe was attached to an independent bookstore, which was fabulous. I wanted all the books.
Hitching in town feels weird. But I only had to do it for a few minutes before a lady pulled over and offered me a ride. She was wearing Dirty Girl gators so I’d know she was a hiker. There were a couple of greeters at the trailhead. They were shockingly excited to talk to me, I think because I was a woman hiking alone. “I moved here to be close to the trail. But I’m too scared to start,” the woman told me. Her husband nodded along. Then they gave me $20. This used to happen to me all the time in Japan. It’s a custom, to give money and food to Shikoku pilgrims. I feel like it’s not so common for PCT hikers. But I won’t complain.
I really wanted to get some miles in. And nature did not want me to stop. At every pause, I was mobbed by yellowjackets. Persistent but not aggressive. What do they want? Salt? Love? I walked for awhile after dark. I saw a little dark snake on the path after dark. It was either dead or too cold to move. I scooted around it. At yet another fork of the Feather River, I started looking around for a campspot I accidentally shined my light all over some guys sleeping on the ground. Oops. I wanted to camp there, but not after waking everyone up. I crossed the bridge and found another riverside spot.