Many thru-hikers will undergo one personal transformation that may not be readily apparent to those reading from home. Even the heartiest of meat loving hikers will likely be reduced to a vegetarian diet of sorts for a portion of each week they spend hiking the trail.
Now I can't get technical on the details of vegetarianism because I simply don't know much about the lifestyle. And I don't mean to overstate the "transformation". But guys like me who would have meat as part at least one meal almost every day of the week are now going without meat for a week at a time. For whatever reason, this new reality didn't really resonate with me during my hike prep.
My diet these days is mac & cheese heavy. Ramen heavy. Pop Tart heavy. Clif Bar heavy. Sour Patch Kids heavy.
This theme repeats across board of hikers more or less. Though some hikers find a way to stuff stacks of peperoni into their packs for wilderness no-cook pizzas.
With all this in mind, imagine how ready i am for a burger when I get to town.
Hitching up to Dunsmuir from the trail on Thursday night went surprisingly well. Standing at the north bound ramp of I-5 I was able to catch a ride from a local within minutes despite the boondocks vibe.
Once in town the 4.5 star ratings of "Yaks on the 5" caught my eye. Pursuing the lead led me to an unassuming cafe adjacent to your run of the mill Chevron station. The food inside changed my life.
Alright pause, I'm being dramatic. And I acknowledge my judgement may have been tainted by some hiker hunger bias.
This burger was good. I can't even tell you what I got. Some bourbon covered something or other burger. It doesn't matter. That sweet glaze on the bacon was unforgettable.
Mid burger binge, our bartender slipped us a sample of the sticky buns. I could tell this wasn't her first rodeo. I bought one of those too. The desert almost matched my euphoria for the burger.
All complicating factors considered, I'm giving "Yaks on the 5" the top spot in my little black book of burger joints. I'm so confident in this restaurant's ability to cook a proper burger that I won't even qualify my ranking with a specific burger.
Now from what I hear Yak's might be a regional chain. I ate in Dunsmuir, but I hear there's one up the road in Mt. Shasta as well. I will only vouch for the Dunsmuir location.
Beer was had as well. I had couple Citrus Mistress IPAs. I'd rate the Citrus Mistress behind the only other citrus IPA I've had on trail so far, the Mike Hess Grapefruit IPA. Both good beers none the less.
By way of the "Buy Me a Beer" platform, these beers are dedicated to Matt Struble.
My grad school year Matt lived with me and my best friend Walsh for a semester. A two bedroom house, Walsh slept in the living room. Matt had this tiny back room. And my room had its own problems. We eventually dubbed this little house on Foster Place, the "Love Shack". I hope the homemade sign is still there.
Matt, who I'm sure will be remembered for many things, was once implicated as the owner and operator of a parody Twitter account, @FakeGuyMac, by the person being parodied, @JGuyMac (the Mid-American Conference social media director). The whole controversy unfolded like a poor man's DB Cooper spin-off. And to this day, to my knowledge, the crime remains unsolved. The true culprit may still be at large.
PCT Mile 1,518.