Today’s miles: 25 (+ 1)
My total mileage: 1319
PCT mile: 1501
I’m pleased to say that we finished the Sierra mountain range and have now entered the third and final range, the Cascades! (I think we crossed over back near Drakesbad/Chester.)
We are racing up and down hills to reach Castella by late afternoon/evening. (My app said we’re doing 6,000+ ft of ascent and descent today, ugh.) There is a gas station there with frosty drinks and we’re likely to hitch north 4 miles for the night to the city of Mt. Shasta.
I listened to some of “A Tale of Two Cities” today. It hasn’t grabbed me yet. Very tired and dirty. A girl’s phone said it was 102 degrees today, ugh.
We reached Castella. We ate burritos at the Chevron convenience store and then crammed into the backpackers’ lot at the nearby campground.
A good example of how the trail can be. Kind scary when there are rattlesnakes in this part. Howly and Fancyfeet also had a scare with thick vegetation like this back on our descent into Belden. A large mammal was only a meter or two away from them, and then decided to abruptly turn and shamble off. Later on, we heard from Wu-Tang that it was in fact a bear.
Lancelot’s tree of life tattoo:
Howly demonstrating extreme patience for the deer ahead. It was a doe with two newborns.
Today’s mileage: 24
My total mileage: 1268
PCT mile 1449
Saw a big rattlesnake today 🙁 Howly and Fancyfeet have been listening to “A Feast for Crows” on audible. I’ve been mostly playing catch up with them at water sources, so it was a good time to start a Kingle Unlimited free trial, which gives me access to a number of narrated audio books. I’ve listened to Shift (the sequel to Wool), and revisited classics such as Heart of Darkness and 1984 so far. Such a joy to rediscover them.
Today’s mileage: 16
My total mileage: 1244
PCT mile 1425
Fancy needed to hit the Post Office again, so we returned and then managed a hitch back with two others (so five of us total). The individual who scooped us all up was very forthcoming in telling us that he made his living mostly from growing and shipping weed. When someone asked him how he manages to ship it, he declined to comment, saying he had his ‘trade secrets’. I think he was disappointed that there weren’t any smokers in the vehicle, as we declined his well-intending offer of free product.
I love this series of shots of the two of them. We’re standing on top of a dam. I’m not sure what Fancy is trying to fix. Howly looks so candid in this first shot, and so righteous and in command in the last.
Leaving Burney, headed back into the heat and lava rocks! Should be at Castella in 4 days….where the trail crosses I-5 to the west, woot! Shame we have a 200 mile circumvent of Shasta though, ugh.
Hands down, the greatest trail magic cache so far. Unfortunately, it is only 1 mile out of Burney. Wish it was located in a more remote location!
It was fun to find the signatures of friends who had passed by on previous days.
We’re all feeling battered and bruised. We decided to hunker down to a day of junk TV and naps in a cheap motel. We visited the town’s sole Chinese restaurant for lunch, and I got a milkshake from the main burger joint in town.
A quick thank you to Brooks for mailing me a replacement pair of shoes. They managed to get them to Belden just before my arrival. Unfortunately, I think these Cascadia 10s are not destined for long. I’m already seeing wear after only 90 miles.
Today’s miles: 15
My total mileage: 1228
PCT Mile 1409
It is a very hot day. We got a 2-part hitch into Burney; including a portion with a park ranger from the Burney Falls State Park. We got a cheap-ish room at a motel, waited for Fancy to visit the Post Office, and then limped to a pizzeria at the edge of town. Yogi’s Guide said there was an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet in town 7 days a week, but the intel was wrong! BOOOOOoooooo.
That night, Howly treated me to a delicious steak across the street. We rewatched old movies from the 90’s in the motel.
Today’s miles: 23
My total mileage: 1213
PCT mile 1394
We went to the sole breakfast cafe in Old Station this morning. There were so many hikers, we kind of all jostled for access to power outlets. I had to smile at their menu. There is quotation from Cheryl’s “Wild” on the front of the menu….referencing the cafe, and how she had felt “right” about reaching Old Station.
It was mid to high 80’s as we left town, but this stretch wasn’t half as bad as I had expected. It is notoriously hot and dry here for 30 miles. I think we got lucky with a breeze. We had also heard that the famous Cache 22 was no longer going to be stocked this year, but were pleasantly surprised that it was there with ample water. Someone had dragged branches and brambles together and woven a kind of large nest-like shelter around the cache. We rested briefly there with some others. Unfortunately, the cache had a really bad odor of decay…we think some small animals had died within the brambles surrounding it. We pushed a few more miles on and then called it on a stretch of trail with dry cow patties and beautiful view of the sunset.
Today’s miles: 24
My total mileage: 1190
PCT mile 1371
Today was another long hot day, but fortunately it was mostly flat and downhill. (I think we climbed 1,900 this morning.) We are only a handful of miles from a cafe outside of Old Station, where we intend to get breakfast in the morn. Tomorrow we begin the Hat Creek Rim, a notorious 30 mile dry stretch, so we will need to camel up big time, and possibly hike late into the night to avoid the worst of the heat.
We camped in a small forest clearing just outside of an RV park. They had a little convenience store that had closed early. In this photo, titled “A Tragedy in Two Parts”, we see an anonymous hiker (definitely not Howly) staring forlornly at beer in a refrigerator. While busy scheming at how to gain access, we were saved by friends around the corner who had beer and chips to share.
Today’s mileage: 18
My total mileage: 1166
PCT mile 1347
Only our second soda cache of the entire trail! It was such a nice surprise.
Arrived in time for dinner at Drakesbad. I had heard really mixed reviews about this place beforehand. It ended up being a fantastic experience. There were a couple of weird things….they told us it was really important to make reservations beforehand. So we did, for 6:30pm, and they definitely knew we were hikers. But when we arrive, they told us we need to wait until all of the rest of the normal guests have eaten, and we can eat at 7:30pm. We had heard from other hikers that at lunch, they got stiffed on chicken and salad…that the resort had run out of food by the time that hikers got to eat. However, you don’t have to pay in advance, so it looked like we wouldn’t be out anything if the dinner ended up being just crummy leftovers. However, the all-you-can-eat BBQ included tri-tip, burgers, hot dogs, etc., and they didn’t run out of anything while we were there.
Hikers paid $14 each, while the normal guests paid $28. Plus that $14 included the best shower on the entire trail, and laundry. Such a better deal than VVR! I’m pretty sure a number of hikers didn’t even pay. One of my friends said that when he went to pay, they said, “you’ve been buying beer, don’t worry about it.” Pretty crazy. I felt like my $14 was well spent. Interestingly, nearly all of the help staff were Latvian or Lithuanian.
All of the hikers moseyed a mile back to an official campground area. I had stomach cramps in the middle of the night….I think from having eaten too much food.
EXTRA: Joe Brewer has an excellent video showing this stretch of trail from Drakesbad Ranch (Mile 1354) To Mt Shasta (Mile 1507). I highly recommend subscribing to his channel:
Today’s mileage: 24
My total mileage: 1148
PCT mile: 1329
Back near Big Bear Lake, a Scottish hiker named Toast announced he was naming his pack, “Cheryl”, so that Cheryl could travel farther than Cheryl did. Hehe. The heroine of “Wild” fame started at Mojave (having skipped the first 500 miles of desert, and later, the High Sierra) and ended at the Oregon/Washington border, putting her around 1,100 miles. Anyhow, I am pleased to announce that, no matter what else, Husk has rambled farther than Cheryl. 🙂 Now time to write a memoir, befriend Oprah, and make millions. MILLIONS. And OPRAH.
Speaking of which, I’ve been quoting Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” in the trail registries. Thank you very much.
We are aiming for 27 miles today, so I’d better stay focused. Big day for the others…we reach the official halfway pylon this afternoon! (I still owe 180 miles before I can celebrate my own, but hope to get good photos and video today.)
BTW, we stayed last night in the vicinity where this happened, hehe, so a little extra on guard.
Today the trail crossed many times between privately-held land and then back onto federal land. Unfortunately, the privately-held land often looked like the two pics below. The surrounding forest really was too dense to find an alternative course. We had to remove our packs and crawl through on hands and knees.