Day 87 – Nero into Etna

June 29, 2016

Paynes Lake (mile 1591.5) to Sawyers Bar Road (mile 1597.3)

Miles: 5.8

We had all agreed to leave at 6:30 am. We wanted to have a full day in Etna for some R&R. Plus, we have heard Etna is the friendliest town on the PCT and wanted to experience the magic.

It was easy walking until we hit a snow patch on an exposed north facing slope. We slowly picked our way through it, with Andy creating nice steps for each of us to use.

We texted Jim, the guy we had met the day before, while walking along the ridge. Through this 1100+ mile journey we have learned that when you can see a town below from a ridge, usually there is reception.

Jim was waiting for us when we got down to the road. We piled into his pickup and headed down into town.

We claimed our spot at the Hiker Hut and went in search of breakfast. The hut wasn’t quite ready for us yet as people were just leaving. We were fortunate to be the first hikers there to claim the 4 beds available in the hut.

Speed took off on one of the loaner bicycles. We chatted with another hiker (and film maker) named Squatch and attempted to take off after him 10 minutes later. Laurie fiddled with the chain but the crank was bent. Andy rode around in a circle to test his bike. He came back and noted that the pedal was loose. He looked down and the pedal assembly fell off. Guess we won’t be riding!!

We walked towards the restaurant but took a detour to Ray’s Place, the local grocery store. Our bodies were craving veggies. We ended up having a picnic brunch comsisting of hummus, lettuce, tangerines, tofu, avocados and black beans.

The rest of the day was filled with town chores – laundry, blog, drying out the tent and sleeping bags, sorting food, and calling family. It was a nice mellow day but there is never time to just sit and relax.

Around 5:30 we found working bicycles and rode a mile to one of the 3 restaurants in town – Dotty’s burgers. The meat was the most local we have ever had, being from the ranch next door.

We stopped at the store on the way home to get ice cream. Talenti was on sale for $2.99! This town keeps getting better and better!

We returned to the hiker hut for the evening. Laurie had a second dinner of quesadillas, something she has been craving for miles.

We chatted, elevated our feet and enjoyed the feel of cotton clothes on our clean bodies.

By 10 pm we were all in bed with the lights out.

Tonight we are grateful for Talenti in small town grocery stores and cozy hiker huts to call home.

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Paynes Lake sunrise

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