In the morning I sleep in a little because it’s only 2 miles to the ranch and I’m pretty sure I’m nearoing at this point. I have a deadline to meet my friend in Oregon but I don’t want to go crazy and also I still had shin splints like 2-3 weeks ago? It is also supposed to be even hotter today. Nope.
I get to the ranch and it’s a really chill vibe. I am very thankful these people opened up in the last years to hikers. They have a pretty nice store, I get a couple things for resupply here like instant refried beans which are hard to find in normal stores. They have boysenberry jam on the waffles and everyone is really excited about it. The other dude with heat exhaustion from yesterday- Hobo- comes in beat up looking but ok. He’s definitely taking the rest of the day off to recover.
A couple of us go into town and get Chinese food for lunch which seems like one of the better deals in town. It’s meh, but a lot of it. Next door is the church which has a slightly creepy sign inviting hikers in, free coffee. We opt out but apparently they were really cool. Instead we go over to Safeway to resupply. I would say it’s totally worth it to not send a box to Burney but rather resupply at the ranch/in town. You can either get a ride from the ride service like we did, or hitch on the road (comments in Guthook said it was hard, but everyone I talked to on trail that actually tried said it was easy).
Get back to the ranch, everyone is lazing about, dragging their feet. Couple hikers head out at 4, others like me say we are hiking at 4…5 rolls around, then 6. Chipmunk hikes out, I’m about to go but then this Siamese cat that has been like whatevs all day decides to park itself in my lap. Well, phone has to charge a LITTLE bit more.
I end up leaving at 7:30 figuring I’ll go like 2-5 miles, wherever I find a campsite. I don’t want to camp too close to the ranch because apparently there’s been mountain lions out and about? Including one that left a paw print on a hiker’s tent at the ranch maybe 2 weeks ago? Right.
There aren’t a lot of good options up front; also, there’s a ton of dirt roads and you can hear people partying out in the distance. Meh. I get to the point where it’s about dark, and I really don’t feel like hiking much, and decide I’m somehow going to manifest a campsite. Couple mayyyybes, then, bingo! F’ing trail magic whaaaaaaat. I didn’t even remember this, this apparently is one of the big trail magics, Wild Bird Cache. there’s a picnic table with names on it, where I decide not to write Haiku, but Hypotenuse. Coolers full of water and lemonade. Weird but free tins of cookies. I don’t really need it but can’t help but try one with some lemonade. I cowboy camp next to the table, hoping bears don’t party here, and call it.