We headed out of Murphys (thank you Phyllis!) early, as the sun was just rising, hoping to make it to Railroad Flat in time for bed. We had to stop for a photo of some of the cute things Murphys had to offer.
We took Sheep Ranch Rd out from the center of town. There was no yellow line painted on the road which we have discovered could be a good or bad thing. Phyllis’s neighbour Kris warned us the day before to be careful with the crazy drivers on the way, so we were ready. We quickly figured out that there really weren’t that many cars on the road. In the first hour we only passed by three. Sometimes fewer cars means riskier drivers, but it also means more freedom for us! We were able to walk side by side and talk for most of the day.
So many of the ranches on the road were for sale, and the beauty of the hills made Rebecca question (though not really) what it would be like to stop walking and figure out how to move out here and live off of the land.
By 1030 we were realizing the sun was peaking through the trees, and we should put on sunscreen! So we took a lunch break in a little cove where the road was right in front of us, but no drivers noticed us as they drove past because it was such a sharp corner.
Rebecca was even able to sneak into the bushes to pee without being seen. (Quick note here, always pee when you’re leaving, especially if you’re downhill from the pee spot. We haven’t made a mistake there yet!) But we had to continue on up and down the hills. At every valley there was a creek and at every peak the sun shown bright. The road was gorgeous! When we got into Sheep Ranch Jan and Carlos were driving out to bring their dogs to play in the creek and they stopped to say hi. They were both so excited about our trip and wanted to hear all about it. Carlos used to work for an outdoor company before moving to Sheep Ranch so he had lots of tips about our gear. They even offered to let us stay with them, but it was only 11am, so we had to refuse and continue on our way.
Using our burst of energy from talking to Jan and Carlos we headed on toward Railroad Flat. We needed to make it there to refill our water and we hoped to be able to sleep by the church or the school. It was a weekend, so the school would be closed and the church might have someone there to ask.
Of course, we stopped again for what we have started calling second lunch at about 1230. Luckily, this was also a good time to reapply sunscreen! With a couple more breaks in between, we made it to the church by Railroad Flat Rd and Sheep Ranch Rd (signage isn’t that great, so remember your turns on these streets!) By this time we were basically out of water, no one was at the church (and the entrance was hard to find!) but we were quick thinking and found an outdoor spigot where we could refill!
The school had a chain link fence around it, and things weren’t looking up as Rebecca started to get grumpy because she was tired, but with no where to camp Tim suggested getting past Wilseyville (where many people had told us to be careful) before finding a camp site. After passing a lot of “no trespassing” signs and signs saying you’d be arrested for entering the property, we paused at the bottom of a big hill while Rebecca braced herself to make the climb. As we rested, the couple in the house across the street noticed us and with a quick conversation we were offered a camp site on their property right where we were standing (thank you Craig and Bobbie!).
We settled in by choosing a flat spot for the tent and putting on our no-see-ums suits. The mosquitoes in the mountains are terrible in the spring, those suits are funny looking but amazing!
Setting up camp and getting time to journal in the light was an amazing end to a mountainous day! This is just the beginning of the Sierras and of the trip, but we were already meeting great people and figuring out how to climb mountains!
Today we walked through:
Rebecca: 65,269 steps
Tim: 60,708 steps
225 miles finished