Days 84 – 88: Get Me To Shasta

Date: July 2 – 6, 2017
Miles: 1430.1 – 1482.1

July 2 – Today was a day. I woke up to mouse poop in my shoes and dozens of mosquitos just waiting for me to dare to step outside of my tent.  I did everything I could to get ready without having to go outside, but eventually I had to, and so I threw my tent into my pack with my other belongings and got the heck out of camp. A bit later that morning when the sun came out and the bugs disappeared, a bear came crashing out of the woods to my left onto the trail in front of me.  I had only enough time to yell, ‘holy crap!’ and watch its butt race away from me up the trail like a furry train and disappear into some brush. I walked cautiously behind it, banging my poles together and yelling, ‘heeeey bear’ to make sure it kept going.  Then I hiked for the rest of the day until my legs fell off. We camped at Gold Creek, and I accidentally dumped mashed potato powder in my tent and at the same time realized that I lost my spoon somewhere in the last day or so.  I went to bed hoping that the bear I saw earlier didn’t have any relatives nearby that love mashed potatoes. 

More Mt. Shasta!

Were you missing Mt. Shasta yet?

The obligatory ‘snow patch of the day’ pic.

July 3 – I took very few pictures today. The only view I had today was of trees, dirt and streams, and more trees, dirt and streams. I saw a baby deer, some woodpeckers and a red rattlesnake as well, but they were all moving too fast for pictures and frankly I was only interested in making miles so I can get in to Shasta in time for fireworks and refillable root beer. It was a boring day. Those happen from time to time out here and I have to remind myself that they are just as much a part of the experience as easy days with expansive views and trail magic are. 

Fluffy can work some hair magic with a buff.

July 4 – 6 We got a ride in to Mount Shasta City with trail angel Kellyfish. As we were walking through town on our way to a KOA campsite, lots of people who were out and about for the July 4th activities stopped us to ask questions about the PCT and offer us food and beverages.  We set up at the campground, took showers and did laundry, talked to some hikers we hadn’t seen in a while because they had skipped up to Oregon and were heading southbound, then headed back in to town for dinner. The only thing open was a KFC/Taco Bell, which was gross but we ate too much of it anyway. Later on when it was dark enough, the city put on a fireworks show over a lake and I watched it from a parking lot. The 4th is my favorite holiday and I was glad to be in town. The next day we resupplied and replaced gear at The Fifth Element, a gear shop in town, then bought a bunch of food to cook for dinner. Rhino, another hiker, grilled it all up for us and we ate way too much again.

 We decided to stay one more night in town, and the next morning Kellyfish gave us a ride back to the trail.  We hiked out into the Castle Crags Wilderness and had the best campsite ever, with the small exception that there were a few mice that came out at night to eat some of Fluffy’s food and chew about thirty small holes in the shirt that I bought the day before.  These things happen, I suppose. 

More Mt. Shasta!

Roi lost a flip flop. We found one for him in our campsite. It was the wrong foot. But hey, the trail provides!

Hiker couture – yes, we wear compression socks and sandals in public.

Sometimes you just have to lay down in the middle of the trail.

Day 83: Pancakes, Waterfalls and Goats

Date: July 1, 2017 
Miles: 1407.2 – 1430.1 

Early this morning I was woken up by the large and very enthusiastic head of a German shepherd in my quilt and then the rest of it rolling on top of me, ready to play.  Monster was giggling (it’s actually more like a deep ‘ho ho ho’) in the background so I knew he had something to do with it.   Mike and his son Owen took us to the Rotary pancake breakfast downtown, which was a treat. I love the Fourth of July holiday and all of its trappings…the breakfasts, parades, music, cholesterol soaked foods…everything.  

Rotarians make expert level pancakes.

We stuffed ourselves and then Michael and Owen drove us back to the trail. 

Owen tried on Monster’s pack. “It’s heavy,” he said.

The next trail attraction we came to was Burney Falls, which was crawling with people who got to drive there and wear cotton clothes and walk slowly for hours. We took a few pictures, then blasted out of there.  A quick trip to the gift shop made me claustrophobic, with all of the people milling about buying all kinds of things they don’t need. I’ve been those people before…I’m a sucker for cute tchotchkes, usually. This time, however, the abundance of unnecessary items overwhelmed and annoyed me. 

Burney Falls.

After the short break, we headed up an 8 mile climb with humidity and the temperature also climbing well into the 90s. We stopped to dunk ourselves in Rock Creek, but then we had to keep climbing. 

I got crabbier and crabbier with each mile as the heat sucked the energy out of me.  I just wanted to stop hiking. Luckily, we ran into High Risk heading southbound, whom we hadn’t seen in a while, and talking to him was a welcome distraction.  He said that he had a good time in Shasta, which we are looking forward to.  Eventually, High Risk headed out and we did too.

High Risk.

 As the sun started to go down, the mosquitos became more aggressive and I was no longer able to outrun them. I found the campsite that the boys had claimed and set up my tent super fast. I put all of my rain gear on and made dinner quickly as well.  As soon as I could, I got inside my tent, read for a while and went to bed. 

Fluffy’s name is evolving…

Messin’ around.

Just out walking the goats. As one does.

Day 82: Angels Extroardinaire

Date: June 30, 2017 
Miles: 1391 – 1407.2 

“You really look like a homeless person right now.” ~ Fluffy

We got up early and hiked to the Burney Mountain Guest Ranch, which is a nice place for hikers to stay, with a pool, a small store and good burgers. 

 Instead of paying to camp there, however, we got burgers and some ice cream, then called the trail angel that Jeanine had suggested, Michael. He picked us up and brought us in to the town of Burney so we could get resupply done (and get McDonald’s, of course), and we went on to his house to do laundry and get showers.  

They got free ice cream! I did not!

This is my homeless resupply look.

We spent the evening grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, playing with the dogs, and chatting with his super friendly family.  We all agreed that they are the best trail angels we’ve had the opportunity to stay with so far. We eventually went to sleep in the front yard to the sound of a classic rock cover band playing in town for Burney’s Fourth of July celebration, Basin Days. We hear there will be pancakes tomorrow!

Monster tented in the boat.

Mt. Shasta peeking out from behind a hill.

Fruit mixes and literature left by a local church.

Just a cool water utility building.

Day 81: Hat Creek Magic

Date: June 29, 2017 
Miles: 1374.9 – 1391 

This was yet another day in which we had high hopes for how many miles we were going to go, and another day in which we were derailed by creature comforts. We climbed on to the 40 mile long Hat Creek Rim, which is infamous for being one of the hottest and driest stretches of trail. And it was indeed hot. And dry. 

The Rim edge extending down into the valley below.
We had our first glimpse of Mt. Shasta along the way, which I realized later I would be seeing for about 100 miles. The not-so-stealthy stalker of the PCT. That also means that you may be seeing an obnoxious number of pictures of it in the next few blog posts. 

There she is…waiting…

We stopped for lunch around noon and I had just made myself comfortable, inspecting my super dirty feet, when Roi asked at what mile we happened to be. When I told him, he got excited and said that a Facebook post announced trail magic a half mile up the trail.  I’ll tell you now that it never takes so long to put on sweaty toe socks as it does when one wants to get to food really fast. What we found when we got there was an awesome spread of salads, fruit, cold beverages and strawberry shortcake made by some ladies from Burney. One of them, Jeanine, has a son who is hiking the PCT this year and she wanted to get involved in the trail in her own way as well.  And wow were we grateful for that! 

We spent a few more hours on the rim than we intended because of the refreshing food and fine company, so we only made it a few more miles after that and camped by a 300 gallon water cache and lots of cow poop. From my bed I could see hang gliders and parasailers float by silently on the wind above the rim, and I envied them their quiet vantage point. Maybe I’ll try that in my next adventure. 

Looking back at Mt. Lassen.
I could get used to this.

Cactus, another hiker, and Joe Dirt (l-r) enjoying the shade and the grub.

It’s always fun when someone leaves surprises like this on the trail.

Jeanine (on the right) and two of the other angels that saved us from the banalities of plain water and tuna fish packets for one day.

An evening glider.