Mile 1416.5 Burney Falls State Park to mile 1597.3 Etna
Jeep roads a plenty.
Day Seventy: 11 July 2015
Start: HM 1416.5
End: HM 1447.5 campsite among blowdown remnants
GPS Point: 41.172998, -121.859338
Day Total: 31.0 miles
Water at mile Burney Falls State Park, mile 1434.4 Clark Spring, mile 1444.8 Moosehead Creek
Today my brain honed in on an idea I have thought about a few times before, but which was rekindled recently. I want to write a guide book for the PCT to provide information about the geology, history, flora and fauna, and whatever else I think is noteworthy. There isn’t a concise book that does this service. People are always intrigued by the random tid bits I tell them about geology or whatever. Plus I personally would love getting to learn the in-depth geological background for the PCT. It was suggested that I create an app like Halfmile’s so the info shows up based on the GPS vicinity. I am not sure I would ever want to do my own GPS apps, but let’s start with if I even start the project to begin with.
Saw Jongjump and Kay Catts with Croomidor. They must have gotten behind at a water spot. I met a guy named Fifty at the top of the path down to Moosehead Creek. We sat there and chatted a long while. Endless showed up and about the same time Feral and Kale walked up from the water trail. The three of us picked up water and then walked another three miles to the campsite. At the camp was Aloha, chilling out by a fire. He had gotten there a few hours prior and was heading to bed until we showed up and all of us chatted a while. A late night but great company!
While hanging out I had a dilemma with getting my supper into my little bowl. The additional items I fill into my potato suppers has grown and the little ziplock bowl I started with may need replacing. I cannot imagine that I will suddenly start eating less.
Overall a mostly uneventful but lovely day. The most notable thing today was that I felt like we crossed every Forest Service and jeep road in this whole area. There was road crossing after road crossing after road crossing. It was somewhat ridiculous. Why are there so many roads through here? Or why does the trail cross the same roads so many times? I also saw the man from last night who is hiking a short section with his family. He was with his wife a little ways back from his son and brother ahead at the river. Nice people.
Despite a lot of breaks and a pretty casual pace, Endless and I made 31 miles still. We are definitely becoming more efficient in our hiking. Consistently keeping the same pace even in the evening hours instead of slowing down after lunch.
A calm day.
Day Seventy-one: 12 July 2015
Start: HM 1447.5
End: HM 1483.1 campsite between unpaved roads
GPS Point: 41.13648, -122.17860
Day Total: 35.6 miles
Water at mile 1460.1 Deer Creek, mile 1478.9 Trough Creek, mile 1482.2 Squaw Valley Creek
8 AM start. Really wanted to sleep in today. Yesterday I was exhausted. Today I was immediately presented with a beautiful view of Mt. Shasta. I didn’t realize we go so close to it! It was spectacular!
There was a surprising amount of uphill today. The elevation profiles seem to be muted a little or something on my Halfmile pages. I almost caught Fifty at the top of the long uphill but took a break instead. Then I did catch him at Deer Creek. We hiked out together and caught Endless and then Aloha. Aloha was just getting up from a break. We stopped at the next water source and ate a snack with Endless. Fifty paced off me the rest of the day. It was to have the company where I was setting the pace the whole time. I felt good today but still somewhat tired.
Pretty much never saw Aloha again. Ran into Smellin’ Keller and Screwloose at the Ash Camp Campground near McCloud River. There were providing some trail magic while waiting for Blues. Saw Nips towards evening. Haven’t seen him since the few days into Donner Pass and our Auburn trip.
Made it to camp. Aloha must be ahead. There are three other tents here. At least the closest one is a couple. Could be more just ahead. There are always a lot of hikers camped within the last fifteen miles into a town stop. Oh how predictable we thru-hikers become.
Falling asleep while journaling for the second night. Up too late hanging out with Endless and Fifty.
Times are a changing.
Day Seventy-two: 13 July 2015
Start: HM 1483.1
End: HM 1498.7 Travel Inn at Mt. Shasta
GPS Point: 41.30967, -122.31075
Day Total: 18.1 miles
Water at mile 1492.4 North Forth of Fall Creek
Screw Loose and Smellin’ Keller gave Endless and me a ride to Mt. Shasta. We walked to Castella first, adding 2.5 miles to our walked distance today. Then they picked us up. We dropped Screw Loose off at the trail to do some trail magic then we continued into Mt. Shasta. So nice of Smellin’ Keller to give us a ride.
Saw Kale Dreamer and Dharma Bum, Stummy and Stinger, Nominal Toast and Rebo, Tarzan and One of Us on trail. Saw Courage, Hornbuckle, Haymaker and Garbelly, at Ammirati’s in Castella. Cheetah and Spills at trailhead when dropping off Screwloose. Hawaii and Beer Goddess, Houdini and Johnny Walker, Aloha, Fifty, Hoots, Ram, and more in town. We have run back into the bubble. The Fourth of July must have created a small void that we shot through and are back into the herd ahead. It is nice but also leading to some new faces.
Endless and I spent this town stop getting rest mostly, but we were also productive. Though I was not nearly as productive as I wanted to be. We stayed at the Travel Inn. Hoots stayed there too. It has been really nice to catch up with him.
Since we made it to town early in the day, I worked on chores right away. A quick shower at the hotel and we were off. I bought new socks and a poncho! I need to do some frankensteining on my tattered dress. We ate at Say Cheese Pizza. Really good! Then bought food at Ray’s grocery.
There is a surprising number of homeless and vagrant types in Mt. Shasta. Apparently it’s due to Mt. Shasta having a portal to another universe. These are not homeless or vagrants after all, but Lemurians. Residents of the hidden city of Telos, Saint Germain, and alien landings. There is a vortex to a higher dimension of consciousness, and the thru-hikers blend into the crowd. It’s unfortunate as many locals seem apathetic to PCT’ers and our need for rides.
Three town tour.
Day Seventy-three: 14 July 2015
Start: HM 1498.7
End: HM 1508.7 campsite by dry creek
GPS Point: 41.18893, -122.37853
Day Total: 10.0 miles
Water at mile 1504.7 East Fork of Sulphur Creek, mile 1507.7 Burstarse Creek
Great day. Had so much to do. Busy at hotel. Endless went to do our laundry. Then we went to Dunsmuir via bus. Everything closes in Dunsmuir on Mondays and Tuesdays. But we still went to a drive thru coffee place, the brewery for lunch and beer, then finished up at the Burger Barn for fries and a big milkshake. At Burger Barn we met Victor and Dillon, a nice couple who drove us back to the trailhead. Victor apparently stops by the trailhead everyday on his way to work to pick up PCT stragglers.
Endless and I hit the trail around 4:30 PM, hiked ten miles, and setup camp early. It was really nice to be relaxing at camp well before 8 PM. We want to do a big day tomorrow, so I wanted to be in bed early too. I am longing to return to the days where I actually woke at 6 AM and was ready to go.
Scheming for a fifty.
Day Seventy-four: 15 July 2015
Start: HM 1508.7
End: HM 1547.1 Sisson Callahan trail junction on saddle
GPS Point: 41.323332, -122.618120
Day Total: 38.4 miles
Water at mile 1526.5 White Ridge Spring, mile 1534.2 spring between Deadfall Lakes, mile 1540.6 Middle Fork High Camp Creek, mile 1547.2 seasonal spring
I was on trail at 7 AM. The beginning of the day was an arduous 12 miles of uphill. There was almost no downhill that whole section. It was an exhausting start to the day for me. I wasn’t moving very fast. I ran into Ram just before the end of the climb. He too seemed at a loss for the uphill. He made an encouraging remark about the elevation profile leveling out after about 29 or 30 miles. Hahaha!
Spills and I then played leap frog for a little while. At the 18 mile mark I hit the pipes spring and found Wild Bill, Haymaker, Garbelly, and Cheetah. The five of them were headed to a lake a couple miles ahead. Aloha was apparently taking a nero at the same lake. I hiked ahead and saw Red Feather, then Lone Wolf and Phoenix. At Deadfall Lakes I met Beetlejuice and Lebowski, who are hiking with Lone Wolf and Phoenix.
Recently with all the rain and bigger days, I have stopped taking photos at everything beautiful and all trail signs. Today there were numerous road crossings and trailheads, and I decided it was a good day to start that regime again. It was nice. I feel like the pictures break up the hike ad make things more memorable.
I stopped at Deadfall Lakes for a late lunch and found Endless there. He had already done lunch and stopped at the lakes for a swim. He was again ahead of me. I felt like I couldn’t move today. It was only a 6200′ up and 3000′ down, but I was struggling with my speed.
I do think it was a nice day. Started feeling soreness in my feet and legs as evening set in, but we were still at camp by 7:45 PM.
While hiking today I realized that we would have almost exactly 50 miles left into Etna. Endless and I have both ran 50 mile races and had already talked about doing a 51 mile day somewhere to up our day total. Had we not stopped the night before Castle Crags, that would have been exactly 51 miles. I was itching to not miss another possibility. I talked to Endless and we stopped at the saddle so tomorrow is over 50 miles.
Camped at a saddle on side of trail. Not really a camp site, but we managed our two tents. A little buggy lately, tonight too. Windy also. Somewhat chilly! Rodent tried to get into Endless’s pack. Had chipmunks hanging around my pack at the lake. Varmints are worse than bears!
Read more of Sea Wolf. We realized we are a third of the way through and only have three weeks until Endless goes home for his brother’s wedding. Need to get to work!
Today I thought about how the PCT, and life, has a way of bringing people together, separating them apart, and causing a convolution of their paths. I have always felt that life brings people into my life at just the right time when I need to learn a lesson from them. It may be a glimpse of a fleeting moment or a hard earned battle scar, but always the people that come into and out of my life help me discover a new potential, an idea, or an inspiration.
Sleepy now. Big day tomorrow. Night.
A 50.2 mile day!
Day Seventy-five: 16 July 2015
Start: HM 1547.1
End: HM 1597.3 rocky ground in front of trail bulletin board
GPS Point: 41.395741, -122.995590
Day Total: 50.2 miles
Water at mile 1563.6 creek below Mosquito Lake, mile 1568.8 piped spring, mile 1576.5 Scott River, mile 1586.8 small creek, mile 1591.5 stream near Paynes Lake
This is the profile of our day:
1547.1-1597.3: 50.2 miles of 8300′ up and 9100′ down.
1568.8-1597.3: 28.5 miles of 5200′ up and 6300′ down.
1586.8-1597.3: 10.5 miles of 1900′ up and 2250′ down.
Not an easy day if you think about it. In fact, we didn’t really have any long stretch of nice flat terrain. The footing was rough and rocky. The ups and downs were steep. Today more than any other day I feel truly accomplished.
I was on trail at 6:30 AM, and we reached the trailhead just after midnight at 12:15 AM. Less than 18 hours, including an hour long lunch, hour long supper, and breaks in between for water, resting, and so on. This is the longest distance I’ve traveled in a day. I did a 50 mile trail race last summer, but that was out and back. Today was point A to point B. Pretty incredible. I cannot even describe how amazing it feels. Thinking back a few weeks ago for the 44 mile day. That was 17 hours and 6.2 miles shorter. I feel great!
Back to other thoughts for the day, I comprehended today that everyone ahead new will for the most part be brand new. Endless and I have passed most of the people we met previously. There are still several ahead, but more that are unknown.
First thing I met two different groups of four people doing the same section north, hiking from Castle Crags to Ashland. Then there were two sobo hikers going from Ashland south. When I ran into Endless, he was with a man who had just had an encounter with a large green rattlesnake. Next were a couple, Lindsey and Happy Baby. Then we saw Hornbuckle. He had taken off from Castle Crags the afternoon we got in. Towards evening we passed Kale Jumper and Dharma Bum. They hadn’t stayed in the last town at all. Two new people, Opossum and Steely. Topped off with Courage camped beside the trail at the final saddle. A lot of people over a lot of miles.
I am surprised by how much the town stops have become an important aspect of this trip. On the CT, I wanted nothing to do with towns except use the resources and leave. On the PCT, it has given me the opportunity to witness not just the natural beauty, but also the historical timelines, cultural influences, local flavors, and the people. The people may be the key. Never before have I experienced such unfathomable selflessness, generosity, and kindness from complete strangers. Today Endless walked into a family’s camp area and they asked if he needed anything to drink because he must be thirsty. They gave him warm juice poured into his water bottle. They were aware of the trail but not expecting hikers to barge into their space. The woman gave me a scan and exclaimed, “Look at her legs! They’re yoked!” It was just one of many fantastic interactions I have had on this journey.
Today has been beyond long and it is actually tomorrow already. We laid out our bags at the foot of the trailhead bulletin. Cowboy camped. The ground is hard and rocky, my legs and body and feet are sore and exhausted, but I feel good. Sleep will be easy tonight. And tomorrow we will lounge around in Etna. 🙂