I (meg) always the opportunists hustled us a lift with another hiker, Spoons mum, MRS Bruce is her name and she hikes, likes Star Wars and is an all round boss. We got to know her in the 4 hours it took Justin, Ollie and I to get too Reno. The little Prius she drives was packed to the gunnels. We had packs on our laps, a box of snow gear between us in the back and bear boxes under our feet. After our Bruce (Ollie) spent a good amount of time sending some packages from the Reno post office, much to Justin’s annoyance (he’s headed to Truckee to meet a girl he is crushing on, says he wants them cuddles) MRS Bruce dropped us at a Gas Sation near the 395 so we could continue our hitch north toward Chester.And like that it was just Bruce and I fending for ourselves in the big wide world.
We ate some food, made a sign and sat out the front of the store looking kindly, needy and hopeful. One guy said he would take us if only he wasn’t working, then the shop assistant asked us to move from out the front so we headed to the curb. Within less than a minute up pulls Windy. Pretty, sweet, in a jeep truck, Windy said she could take us as far north as Bordertown before she would have to turn around to be back in time to get her daughter to gymnastics. Originally from Organge County, Windy has lived in parts of Europe and used to do some rock climbing. She had excellent left wing world politics and was really excited to meet us. She took our photo, insisted we call her if we neeeded anything and asked us to come stay if we ever came this way again. As we placed our packs in the shade a young guy pulled up in a white mustang. No way I thought, we wouldn’t fit in firstly and no one that drives a car like that is going to be open to ratty hitch hikers. So when this young guy approached us asking where it was we needed to get too I think we both were taken aback. He said he wasn’t going to Chester but could get us to Quincy. The name sounded familiar, and we decided to change plans and instead get back in trail at Quincy instead. Mason was blonde and laid back, he was interested in our lives at home and also about our attitudes and thoughts toward America. The drive from Bordertown to Quincy was beautiful. Green pine forests line the hills and large open pastures were home to black cows and horses. Nestled under dappled light weatherboard houses surrounded by gardens dotted the area. It was romantic, scenes of Charlottes Web (even though it was shot in Australia) conjured in my mind. We arrived in Quincy in the mid afternoon, by now we had invited Mason to come and hang out with us in the evening. So after resupplying at the Safeway and buying some beers we waited for him to return and take us to a swimming spot he knew. He had grown up in the area, but was currently living in Reno selling cars. We drove out of town up a winding road snaking its way through he forest. Pulling over in a small car park we looked down onto a river which ran down over a waterfall and into the most glorious waterhole I’ve seen so far on this trip. We climbed down to it and stripped to our undies.
No nudie swims here…..the next hour or so was spent jumping off rocks into the deep pool, swimming as close to the base of the falls as possible to then be pushed back by its strong current, and meeting a Christian boy band (hubba hunba). The water would push you back, spin you round and spit you out in the gentle water near a submerged rock you could stand on. The edge of the river and water hole were lined with lovely plants. We dried off on a rock, drank our beers and chatted some more. I had only had 1 drink and so when it was time to leave it was decided that I would drive us the rest of the way up the mountain to Bucks Lake.
We invited Mason to camp with us and he suggested that we first go to one of the two bars. Bucks Lake is a man made Lake and it was sublime. We sat at the bar looking down the length of the vast water as the orange sun set in the distance. The boys ordered themselves a Tree Smacker (Bucks Lake’s version of a Long Island Iced Tea) and proceeded to get drunk. I am far more mature and responsible and began chatting to a guy sitting at the bad. His name was Kirk, and he is a young conservative from the Bay Area. Kirk invited us to come and stay at his cabin for the evening. His family have had a place here forever, he loves being here and was up over the weekend to celebrate his birthday. He had a bunch of friends arriving the next day and was happy to share the evening with us instead of being alone. We payed our tabs and followed him back to the cabin. It was a modest place, situated on a smaller a wetland. Lots of geese were swimming around on the lake when we arrived. Drinks were drunk, food was eaten, drinking card games were played. And the evening got rowdy and raucous. To keep it short and simple all that I will say is that somehow Bruce woke up in a strange house, a museum of Mason he believes with no recollection of arriving there in a hoodie (which he quite liked). Luckily for him I had woken up hours earlier worried about his safety and had Kirk drives us back to Quincy. We had searched the town, gone for breakfast, and I had got in contact with Masons friend who we had met the previous day. He had informed me the boys were at Masons grandmas house. She lived near the hospital so we drove around until we spotted the mustang. I had rapped on the windows loudly, and began calling out Bruce’s name (Ollie), who suddenly appeared bewildered and confused. We took the fragile and hungover string bean back to the cabin. He spent much of the day sleeping, apart from when Kirk and I instisted he go swimming in the lake. Kirk showed us the area. He truly is a saint and we are eternally grateful for his generous hospitality. We went off-road driving which was fun, went to some beautiful view spots and swam in the huge lake. In the afternoon he dropped us at the trail head and in our sandals we walked 3.5 miles to a quite Camp spot among the pines.