Day 77: Saturday, July 20

Still in Snoozinville, CA, a zero day

Woke up at 8:30, demolished the continental breakfast at the motel and tried to leave Susanville as soon as possible after that. Had some internet errands to run using the motel room WiFi, but by 10 we were on the road and despite being detoured around the Lassen County Fair parade on Main Street, we made our way out of town and over to Chester by 11. Sat down for kraut dogs and shakes at the Pine Shack Frosty, which I had missed out on three days ago during my first visit because I was in such a hurry. Other hikers were there too, and Kristin got to experience hiker trash at its finest when two of them immediately demonstrated high levels of cliqueishness, douchiness and unfunniness. Got some more errands done, including laundry, then drove out of town looking for a swimming hole to pass the heat of the afternoon by (it was around 100 today in Chester).

On our first attempt to take forest service roads out of town to a place called Lake Juniper, the car started to overheat going uphill so we aborted and went back to town. Walked into a bike shop and asked the employees for a recommendation on a good local place to swim that didn't have a jet-ski and motorboat scene ... They understood us perfectly and sent us back out down some different gravel roads to another lake, Willow Lake. It took a half-hour, including 3 miles on an awful dirt road, but there was almost no one else around when we got to the lake and once we'd walked a little way around it we found a spot perfect for swimming. Hot day, cool water, a lake in the middle of the Californian forest all to oneself ... I really enjoyed it, but for Kristin it was perfect, I think this is exactly what she'd wanted to do when she drove down to meet me and it worked out better than we could have hoped for. Spent at least an hour there, then headed back to Chester for another milkshake. Even though it was the wrong direction from Susanville, we figured we'd check out the PCT trailhead for hikers needing a ride into town before we left Chester for good ... we found Squeaks and Happy Hour there by the road and were able to give them some door-to-door service in to the Pine Shack.

Made it back to Snoozinville for the evening, had dinner at the brewpub again ... Against geographic logic, they seem to specialize in seafood and I had some pretty slick clam chowder and risotto. On the way back to the motel, stopped in at the Susanville Wal-Mart for a hair buzzer. It was a long, anxious process but suffice it to say Kristin performed her first haircut ever this evening on me, and if you don't look at the back very closely, it doesn't look terrible. After she was done, I waged war on my beard, the logic being that I'm halfway done with the trail, time for a fresh start, and at any rate that thing looks like absolute shit after 5-6 months as I found out on the AT, and I don't really need to repeat that look. Recognizing that this is one of the only times in my life that it'll be easy to do something interesting with my facial hair, I decided to leave the moustache on. Ready to bring a fresh look to the tired old neckbeard-and-shag world of male hiker fashion.