Day 81 – 7/11/16
1432.13 to Butcherknife creek 1464.55
Total miles: 32.42
Last night was cold! I was cowboy camping on a rock outcropping that looked out at Mt Shasta. Around midnight the wind started to pick up and the temperature plummeted. I was freezing. I put on my rain jacket to help and I curled up under my quilt and cinched the top down. It was still a little drafty but I wasn’t freezing. I woke up at 5:15 and quickly packed up. I was ready to get moving so I could warm up.
I hopped back on the trail and slowly walked munching on what felt like my thousandth pop tart. I’m pretty sure at this point that I’ve eaten more pop tarts on the trail than prior to hiking the PCT. The sunrise was pretty great. Seeing the sky change colors and light up Mt Shasta was beautiful. Photos just can’t capture the colors nor how massive Shasta is towering over everything. Definitely quite the sight.
I finished my pop tart and stuffed the wrapper in my pocket. I sped up a bit trying to get my tendons warmed up and my body warmed up. It was 45° this morning. The trail was very green in the morning. Bright green bushes and plants along and on the trail, all covered by tall pine trees.
I periodically checked for service as I rounded around and climbed up the mountain. I got 4G and since I could go my own pace I stopped after a couple hours so I could upload my pictures and make a post. The 4G was going slow and not uploading the pictures so I put my phone back in power saving mode and continued on. I broke out of the trees and saw Mt Shasta again. I checked again and had 4G. This time I was able to post.
I followed along the ridge looking out at Shasta for a couple hours. I saw I had better service and called my mom. It’s always nice to be able to talk to my parents while I hike. The miles just seem to fly by. It’s just too bad I can only talk for a bit before the connection breaks up. I’m definitely very homesick and just being able to talk for 10 minutes boosts my spirits. I feel it’s going to be even harder hiking alone. By this point it is 10 am and I haven’t seen another person.
I come to a short side trail to Moosehead Creek at 10:30 and stop to get water. There is a flat spot near the creek for tents so I take a break to eat some food and filter water. I’ve been wanting to take earlier but shorter lunch breaks. I would rather take two half hour eating breaks than a long lunch when it’s hard to find shade. At 11 I get back on the trail and hustle. I feel like I’ve been moving slow and not getting the miles in. I’ve already done close to 13 miles but it seems like I should have more done.
Once again the trail leaves the trees and there is Shasta. It’s amazing how massive it is. I love how the snow suddenly stops and then the base spreads way out. It’s starting to get a bit warm and I’m sweating like a pig. By 1 I just sit on the trail in the shade and eat some crackers. I haven’t seen anyone all day and I doubt I will for the 10 minutes I’m sprawled out along the trail. The trail is very exposed and the sun is beating me down.
I look old and tired
After climbing over 1,000 exposed feet I begin to drop down. I have about 8 miles until I get to a tenting spot near a creek. I hope it’s empty otherwise it would be awhile before I find another. It is getting harder and harder to find tent sites since the elevations don’t allow for it. Sometimes I’ll go 5 or 6 miles without seeing one. I really don’t want to get to 6 pm and find the spot is taken and then go another hour or so.
I fly down the trail. It’s completely shaded which is nice. I pass the first crossing of Deer Creek and fill up my empty bottle and use Aquamira drops to treat the water.
5 Star gave me his extra dropper and bottles when we got to Burney yesterday. Aquamira is a way to treat water. Just mix two chemicals together in a dropper and then use the mixture on water. It kills bacteria and viruses. Much faster than filtering but it has all the debris left floating in it obviously. I’m going to start using both. Sometimes I don’t want to have to drop my pack to filter a liter or there isn’t a good place to sit.
I continue on with only 5 miles left. My back starts to hurt and I have to slow down. I think about stopping in 2 miles at a tent spot if it looks good. I pass the creek it is supposed to be next to and see nothing. I continue on for the next 3 miles. My speed feels like it’s dropping since my lower back hurts. I check my navigation app and see I’m still doing about 3 mph.
I finally reach the spot and thankfully it’s empty. I quickly set up my tent and head down to the creek that is 30 feet away. I put my feet in the creek and wash off the dirt that has been caked on for the last 4 days. The water is nice and cold. I fill up my dirty water bag to filter later. I get back in my tent and finish setting up. I lay on my pad and eat some of my food imagining it’s something else.
I plan on doing about 30 miles tomorrow which would set me up for hitting interstate 5 around 8:30 or 9 the next day where I’ll hitch in to Shasta. I’m looking forward to my last full California town stop!