Good day today. Nice and cool, almost cold, good terrain, good shade, ample water, and a big town and hotel with shower at the end.
I was camped at a designated tentsite, which is unusual for me, but the terrain was ridge walking the whole time with steep slopes everywhere, so there wasn’t much choice. There ended up being six of us at this site, all ready to strike for town in the morning. First Light was the first one out, but he only beat me by ten seconds. We were out by 6:15. Only one of the other hikers was getting ready to roll when we left camp. The other three were sleeping in.
There was more ridge walking and only three miles to next water. I had half a liter, so I decided to just go three miles instead of loading up at the tentsite. The three miles went quickly and the water source was a large river with a steep trail down to it. First Light was already there getting water when I arrived. Once he headed out, I never saw him again all day.
I ran across two new hikers at mid morning. A couple from New Jersey. I saw them several times throughout the day and later in town. I also ran across Suds in town and the other unknown hiker from the last two days.
I also ran across a logging crew. It was just like a scene from Axe Men, with a stationary crane at the top of the hill pulling logs up via cables to be loaded onto trucks. Men all along the hill were cutting huge pine trees by chain saw and the trees made a huge thud when they hit the ground. They were clear cutting big sections and cutting pretty close to the PCT such that it would expose the hikers to full sun for decades to come. I don’t know who owned the land in this area, but on the Appalachian Trail they strongly regulate the trail corridor on public lands such that direct visible impacts are undetectable. I thought this was a state park area, but must either be private or a state or national forest. I get that forests get farmed, but ten feet from the trail for 2000 ft is saddening.
I got signal off and on in the morning and finally figured out my signal was coming from the north so every time the trail went to the south of a ridge, I shut the phone off and when on the north side, I could “do business” until the trail shifted again. I still hadn’t decided if I was going to Dunsmuir or Mt Shasta for the night, so much research was needed. I’m getting pretty good at using the phone while hiking if the trail has no rocks. Figuring out which way was North was trivial with gigantic Mt Shasta being to our North.
The last eight miles or so were going up and over one last set of ridges. I took a quick lunch break at the top on a flat spot and sprawled out. I had been going all morning without a break and my feet were killing me. Instead of breaking into a new days bag of food, I finished up all remnants of the accumulated extra food from the prior days. I ate everything down to some nuts, one granola bar, some peanut butter, and four tortillas. Aside from two full days of food untouched, this is a pretty small accumulation of leftovers. I need six days of food for the next stretch, so I only have to buy four.
The last four miles down the hill went by pretty quickly. When I got down to the road, there was a cache of drinks and food. They had Squirt and they were ice cold, so I went straight for one of those. By this time, I had made up my mind that Mt Shasta was where I was going. The hitch was on interstate 5 and there was no side road, so either town would be a tough hitch, so might as well go to the larger town with better amenities. It’s a good thing I had made up my mind, because just then a car pulled up and asked if anyone needed a ride. Talk about an easy hitch. Another hiker,.MAGA, was also there, so we got an easy ride to Mt Shasta. He went to the outfitter for shoes and I went straight to the hotel. The guy who picked us up was also hiking the PCT and needed to go home for a week to let his feet recover, so he rented a car and just headed for the trailhead to see if anyone needed a ride. The trail provides. Let’s see if town provides a ride back to the trail tomorrow.
I checked into the hotel and headed straight for the shower. Another fifteen minute foot cleaning session was required, and I had just washed my feet in a stream yesterday. California knows how to dirty up some feet. Next on the agenda was laundry, so I put on what I didn’t need to wash gathered everything up, and hoofed it three blocks to the laundromat. Once the clothes were washing, I headed across the street to the health food store. It was pretty small and didn’t have much selection, but I did buy some fruit and Mango Even Keel session IPA from Sculpin. Mango IPA is becoming my new favorite.
There was a tamale truck next to the laundromat, so I had to try it out. But pork or chicken… How to decide? Oh yeah, both. They were both excellent but I liked the pork best. I hope they are there tomorrow, too. I will probably not leave until late in the day tomorrow, so more food will be required.
Laundry done, I headed back to the hotel to call Karen. Calls done, it’s time for the next round of chores – dinner and resupply. I had asked the hotel owner where was the best pizza in town. She answered The Roundtable, which was next to the grocery. Score. Oddly, there is an Italian restaurant across the street, yet a chain made her list over her neighbor. Observing the golden rule of food shopping, never shop on anything less than a full stomach, I ate first. I got a medium pizza and a salad bar, and the pizza was a little disappointing. Californians just do not do well in the pizza department, bless their hearts.
Next, to the grocery. It was alot like a Hitchcock’s back home. They had my favorite brand of ice cream and it was hard to not buy a half gallon. The pizza worked. I thought I was being pickier than usual with the food selections but by the time I got to the checkout it seemed like I bought too much. I did but a liter Squirt and more fruit for the morning but we’ll see how much I really bought when it comes time to pack the daily bags. I’ll do that tomorrow.
Dragging two bags of groceries and a pizza back to the hotel was taxing. But not as heavy as a pack, just awkward. I saw more hikers on the way back. Apparently, one of the outfitters let’s people stay out back. Pretty kewl, but I needed a shower. So I am now back in the hotel, typing up the days blog entry and drinking another Sculpin. Life is simple and life is good.