Best Burger On Trail

Every town we stop in supposedly has the best burger on trail. Rumors fly about this burger or that burger, Guthook claims one is the best, Yogi’s pages say it’s another. Well, many people agreed, Sierra City really did have the best burger and we were extremely excited to get in and try it. We busted out a twenty four mile day by four, the last half of which was all down hill. Sierra City is only a mile and a half off trail but we had read that getting a hitch could be hard because of high speeds on the hitching road. So when we passed an older couple near the trailhead we yogi-ed hard for a ride. What does that entail? Being nice and charming, asking them questions about where they were from, where they were going, telling them about ourselves, etc. Then we ran ahead so that we could be attempting to hitch hike when they showed up at the trailhead. Sure enough, when they appeared they saw us trying to hitch and offered us a ride. So that was great and they were lovely. 


When we got into Sierra City the deck of Country Store was covered in hikers. Hikers, hikers, everywhere. In the back of the store were towers of resupply packages. It was a self serve operation, so I moved stacks of them around until finally I found our box. What a relief! It was so great to see our food and to get some of our dehydrated dinners. The drop was a four day drop to get us to Belden Town. By the time we got our drop sorted out, bought some more snacks, and ordered our burger it was a little bit late. We had been torn on leaving or staying but there weren’t a lot of great campspots right out of town and I happened to run into the owner of the Red Moose Inn who had both of his rooms available. Kyle went with him to look at the rooms while I stayed behind and waited for the burgers and milkshakes to come up. He came back with the key right as I was gathering up all our food and we headed over there, best burgers ever in hand. 


Turned out we didn’t only get a room, we got the whole building to ourselves. Which was kind of creepy, we were in an old mining town after all. But our room itself was nice, clean, and simple, so once we closed the door and forgot about the scary staircase leading up to the attic it was okay. Then it was time to eat our burgers. Thick charred pound patties with horseradish white cheddar, on soft seasame buns, lettuce and onions and pickles. Mayo for me, no mayo for Kyle. Mustard on both. Unbelievable. By far the best burger on trail. That really is saying something. Let me tally what we have so far: 

  • Jullian: Shitty burger, but amazing chicken pot pie. 
  • Mike Herrera’s: Amazing  simple burgers, just meat, cheese, bun, and condiments. These probably weren’t actually great burgers, but Mike Herrera’s is in the middle of the desert, you don’t expect to get burger, and then suddenly you walk in and the grill is smoking and you have two incredibly juicy burgers in your hands… Maybe not the best burger, but best burger experience. 
  • Tehachapi: We went and got burgers at the Burger Spot in Tehachapi, where they have an Ostritch Burger. We didn’t get an Ostritch Burger but the burgers we did get weren’t great. 
  • Southern Kennedy Meadows: We went a little burger crazy at Kennedy Meadows. The Kennedy Meadows store has a different specialty burger every day, the first day it was a grilled pineapple burger, which was phenomenal. Then we had to go to Grumpy Bears in order to use the wifi to track our package and in order to use the wifi we had to buy something, so we bought a burger. It paled in comparison to our pineapple burger we had just eaten. When we were stuck there the next day we decided we must have another burger. Specialty burger of the day that day, mushroom and BBQ sauce. 

So quite a few burgers, but none of them could compare to Sierra City. At least not yet. After we finished our burgers we read some smutty People magazine and fell asleep early. We got up early the next morning and ended up walking back to the trail. Hitching wasn’t great at 8am. In its descrition of Sierra City Guthook claims it’s a great place to rest up because the climb out of Sierra City was notoriously hard. Looking at it on the app it didn’t look too steep but it was an eight mile long climb up to the Sierra Buttes, most of which had looked exposed when we glimpsed it on our way down. We hit the climb at a good time though and a stiff wind kept us cool as we climbed out of the trees and onto the slopes bellow the buttes. It was stunning. The rocks jutted out of the shrubs, high above us. We stopped at a little creek part way up to fill up on water and continued. From behind the buttes looked completely different and totally awesome. The further away from them we got the buttes the more they began to look like a mountain. 


We continued hiking, up and down along a ridge, passing by lakes that seemed right bellow us. We could hear people partying down by the lakes and boats zipping around on their clear waters. We were seeing more and more people, thru hikers and day hikers. We were also crossing a ton of roads, mostly dirt, and having to be more and more careful about water. The water sources were getting tricky, some of them were off trail and you had to read the description of them carefully. They were also further and further apart. We were heading to a road for the night where there was camping and A-tree Spring, a reliable spring. When we got there only one spot was left for camping and we were barely able to fit our tent into it, but we made it work. We had a lovely dinner some Oreo pudding for desert, which I managed to squirt everywhere, causing Kyle to become very angry with me. We wrasseled and I won. Kyle had to put up the bear hang.  

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As Edward Abbey said, "An indoor life is the next best thing to a premature burial."

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