Day 51 - July 4 - end at mile 1218.1. John Z and I casually walked the trail and quiet roads a few mile into Sierra City in the morning discussing bikes, hikes, and jobs. Sierra City is a cute town at sub 5000ft, the lowest I've been in a long time. The town is just a few blocks long and reminded me a bit of a small nowhere New England town center. We had breakfast and I was able to pick up a bit of food for the next section. I cut my pants into shorts. I'm glad the businesses were open today. Good for us hikers. I took off in the early afternoon, John stayed behind as he is heading to Colorado now to attempt an FKT on the Colorado trail. The trail quickly regained it's lossed elevation and returned to over 7000 ft. I hiked a long exposed section near the Sierra Buttes and then followed a ridge most of the day through conifer forest. Saw two Golden Eagles flying together from a close distance... these were life birds for me and were magnificent, stopping me in my tracks. Now I'm camping alone on this wooded ridge. Deer are walking around my tent and a Hermit Thrush is singing in the background. In the last moments of light I will eat a bit, brush my teeth and then fall asleep. Big miles lately so I'm sleeping well.
Day 52 - July 5 - end at mile 1258.2. Slepted in a little bit today but still got out before the sun was high. Most of the day was forest which I appreciated. Reminded me of the AT. After a big descent I came to Bear Creek where I was able to bathe and laundry. Felt good after a 29 mile hotish walk. Thankfully it never got too hot today. Another 11 miles uphill and I was treated to a beautiful sunset at Lookout Rock. I ate my dinner there and camped nearby. This has been my third 40 mile day in the last 4 days. They are coming pretty easily, just gotta walk most of the day. A sub 100 day hike seems very feasible right now.
Day 53 - July 6 - end at mile 1290.1. Nice .32 mile day with a long resupply break in the afternoon. Nice forests gave way to a huge 5000+ft descent putting me to the lowest I've been in a long long time at Beldentown resort in Belden, CA. Met up here with Sonic whom I had not seen since the LA Aquaduct in SoCal. Good to see her again. Earlier in the day I met some nice folks who were vacationing on the road and had interest in what I was doing. Anyway in Belden I had a veggie burger, a couple beers, and resupplied out of their general store. Bag is stuffed with frosting, cookies, candy, and cereal. Hung out for a bit longer and drank a couple sodas on the porch. Did a little interview for a hiker-student's thesis, nice people. Hit the trail once the sun was down to regain some of my lost elevation. Camping a little less than half way up and will finish the climb in the AM.
Day 54 - July 7 - end at mile 1325.6. Finished the climb out of Belden this more. It wasn't that hard nor exposed like it was made out to be. On top, I walked along the mountains with smaller rollers and a couple big ones most of the day. I carried more than one liter for the first time since mile 700 here cause all the water for 22 mile was off trail 0.3 or more. Ate lots of junk food and candy today. Mostly it has been good (frosting, noon pie things) but some healthy meals would be nice. Probably won't have any of that for a while. Passed the halfway marker and began the big descent to the road that goes to Chester. I'm gonna skip Chester and hope to position myself to get to Old Station in the morning after tomorrow. Overall kind of a quiet and boring day. Never felt like walking to fast despite the relatively easy terrain. Glad to be half way thru.
Day 55 - July 8 - end at mile 1363.0. Another day in the forest. For the second day in a row I didn't put on sunscreen. I hope this is a sign of things to come. The day was quiet. I saw a lot more day hikers than thru hikers. Basically I walked alone all day. The highlight was walking through a big meadow at Sunset. The meadow was filled with the skeletons of burnt trees and in the distance I could see a huge mountain with tons of snow on it still. A lot of today's hike was in Lassen Volcanic National Park and I'm camping at the border to exit that now. Also I think I may have seen my first bear out here about a mile back. I heard something break a stick and then looked to see a chunky brown animal running away in the distance. Was too chunky to be a deer. Hopefully no bears come tonight!