Today I woke with great motivation. In just a few miles, we will hit the halfway point and then I will get into Chester. The morning was nice. More deer came to our campsite to lick pee. Guess I shouldn't have peed right outside my tent. There were a lot of overgrown brush scratching my legs all morning. I think that is what has been causing my skin to itch so much. The halfway mark seems to take forever, so I try to walk quicker. Finally, we reach the point. It's quite anti climatic. It's just a tiny column in the sun where the letters that are hard to read. I take a selfie and sign the register.
I text Shelley, the woman in Chester who was offering me a ride to town, and let her know around what time I'd get to the highway. It took longer than expected but I gave her a good time frame. It became hotter the lower I climbed. I reached the road to cross and I see Shelley and wave. I walked over drenched in sweat and covered in dirt to meet her. She was SO kind! I sat down and chatted a bit and the other rolled in. She knows ranger from his YouTube videos, in which I had no clue he was a YouTube celeb. I was so curious to see. We sat for a bit and then I was off to Chester with Shelley while the others continued on.
I shared some stories with Shelley on the car ride while she told me about the town and where they live. She and John, have a vacation home in lake almanor and we would be headed there. It is always a little nerve wrecking when you accept an offer to stay at someone's house but so far, they've all been safe. Thank goodness. I walked into this beautiful little house with amazing wooden floors. The place was SO clean. I felt so dirty walking in. I met John and some of their friends who were also in town. Shelley showed me my two room options and chose the one closest to the restroom. There was a huge bed with a million pillows on top. Pure luxury. She put a load of laundry on for me while I took a shower. It was AMAZING. The shower head was so strong and the water temp was so good. All of the toiletries lathered up so well and I felt clean. I came out a new person.
I organized some things and figured out how much food I need until burney. It was later afternoon and started getting hungry. I finally was ready to head out to do errands. Shelley took me to tantardinos for food. It's an Italian restaurant owned by one of her friends and has been part of the family so many years. They use top secret family recipes and it was amazing. The kind waitress let me order a split dish of spaghetti and meatballs and Alfredo. She brought me out a green salad with this amazing basil vinaigrette dressing. Wow. And the cheesy bread and pasta were even more amazing. Trish, the owner, came by and we got to chat for awhile. She and Shelley have both been following my trip and it was encouraging to hear how much they care about what I'm doing! Complete strangers, brought together by the Internet. So crazy. She had so many questions for me and was so interested. I don't feel like I'm doing anything special but I guess to others, it seems like a big deal.
I was super stuffed after my meal and Shelley insisted I take home their lemon bar and brownie for desert so we did! We said bye and gave hugs to trish just as the restaurant was getting flooded with dinner reservations. Then Shelley took me to the grocery for a mini resupply. I only needed a couple of things and once again, she insisted on buying my food for me. I was overwhelmed with her generosity. Sometimes it is hard to accept things like this, but I guess you have to let people serve you too. Then she took me to get the famous shake in town and I ordered the Oreo one. It was bomb.
We got back to the house feeling so tired and sleepy. I organized my food and things and it started getting late. I hung out for a little bit before I needed to call it a night. I was talking to Shelley outside how all of these unexpected town stops have been just unbelievable. Just overwhelmed with people's generosity towards complete strangers like myself and letting me come into their home. Chester was not originally one of my stops but something told me I should go even though the others were hiking on. I knew I had to follow my gut and am so glad I did. Meeting amazing people gives me a whole different perspective on this trip and it was the perfect halfway stop to get me through to Oregon. I feel refreshed and excited to head out solo tomorrow. It's always interesting how you do on your own vs with others.