Day 83 (Pete)

We made pretty quick work of the sixteen miles to town. What appeared initially to be a simple shortcut on an abandoned jeep road turned out to be quite a bit of thicket crashing and steep slope stumbling. Nevertheless, it did shorten the route. The Sacramento River offered up the reward of some deep green swimming holes at the bottom of our hot descent.

Castella seems to be a post office and an interstate side gas and shop with adjoining bar. Ameratti’s market has everything we could desire. The deli food was really really good. We sat on the bench out front all afternoon observing the trials and tribulations of life on the road. All of them stopped for gas. We determined that it would take a maximum of three days sitting in such a spot before you saw someone you knew. Dyl described such chance encounters as generally, “unfortunate.”

As the sun began to dip we settled in to digest our dinner. Ken C., a Castle Crags park ranger, pulled around in his truck and started talking us up. “You gonna’ stay in the park tonight?” Translation, “I know your gonna’ stay in the park tonight. Ya’ gonna’ do it legal and pay?” It seemed cheap enough, three bucks He offered us a ride up the road to the campground and told us there were showers. Well, it was three dollars per person. That Ken didn’t make clear. I grudgingly coffed up six bucks at the entrance station. He showed us his “Bear Retardent Device.” A multi-colored plastic pump action super soaker water gun. “They hate it.”

Now we sit, both writing, in the tent as swarms and swarms of mosquitoes hover futily outside. Under cover of night, we will steal away to the warm showers.

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