Just as I was finishing an article, I got a call from Burney Lodging that there was a hiker approaching the trail head at Hwy 299 who needed a ride into Burney.
This was my second PCT call for the day. The first I missed because I was out with the Burney Beautification people. Yesterday I saw two young lady PCT hikers walking up Main Street. They had recently arrived in Burney and didn’t need a ride out to the trail yet.
So traffic on the trail is picking up. Hikers who started the northbound hike from the Mexico border are beginning to hit Burney. There are a lot more still to come.
I jumped in my jeep and headed out 299. As I passed the Baum Lake road, I saw a person emerge from the woods on the road looking toward me. I pulled up.
“Did you call for a ride into Burney?”
Yes he had. His name was Mike Harrington.
Each hiker has their own interesting story to tell. Mike is originally from Massachusetts, but in 2013 he came west. Since then, he has worked for the Forest Service in Northbend and worked on the trails in Lassen Park. He also spent some time working for the Forest Service in Alaska.
This year he decided to hike the PCT. He left his car in Arizona and started hiking the trail from Mexico. He hiked through the desert but then one of the sections of the trail was closed because of a forest fire. When he got on the trail again he heard that there was still 8 feet or more of snow in the Sierras. And apparently there was a portion of the trail that was very crowded because of backups.
So he decided to rent a car and drive ahead. Because I had to get to a meeting, I didn’t have time to get a lot of details. Mike told me that he had hiked a portion of the trail around Truckee and Donner Pass and there was a lot of snow.
After he regained the trail, he stopped at Old Station to pick up a package. He told me that the folks at the Old Station Post Office told him that a lot of the traffic on Hwy 44 is not local so they are reluctant to pick up PCT hikers hitching to get back to the trail because they think they are transients.
I told him that Burney is a PCT friendly town and a lot of locals like to give rides to hikers.
I had to get to a meeting at the Vets Hall on supportive housing so I dropped Mike off by the Dollar General and Safeway. Some of the supplies he had gotten in Old Station were insufficient and he had lost a pair of flip-flops in a stream. Mike wasn’t planning on staying overnight. He was going to pick up supplies and head back out that evening.
Mike is now on his way to Canada.
For more information on PCT conditions and updates see Trail conditions and closures.