Hiking With Jason

Detached From Reality

Day 85: Uphill all day

Day 85 – 7/15/16

Shasta 1498.70 to Porcupine Lake 1528.81

Total miles: 30.11 plus 0.20 to lake

The worst part about a zero in town is having to get up the next morning. The bed is so soft and comfy. I just want to stay in it all day. Alas, the trail won’t hike itself. Yesterday I called Shasta Taxi and asked for the earliest pickup. My taxi would be here at 6:15. I woke up at 5:45 and packed up the rest of my things and filled my water bottles in the tub. Classy right? By 6:05 I was ready and I did a quick double check around the room and walked outside. I put my key in the drop box and walked to the sidewalk to wait.
At 6:15 exactly the taxi pulled up and I hoped in. We had to pick up another hiker before heading to the trail. We pulled up in front of the motel and no hiker. It wasn’t quite 6:30 when he was scheduled to be picked up but close enough. The driver asked if I wanted to wait and I said I could wait a few minutes. A couple minutes later a hiker I didn’t recognize came out of a room and got into the taxi.

I got back to the trail at 6:45. My pack felt heavy and it would be a long day of uphill. The trail was at 2,600 feet and it would climb all day to a little over 7,200. The first part of the day was the majority of the climb to 5,800. I was hoping for a cold and overcast day but the trail gods had other plans. Hiking in comfort is strictly prohibited on the PCT.


I walked on to the trail fiddling with my trekking poles and the trail did an immediate climb. I realized I forgot to turn on my tracker so I had to drop my pack and turn it on. I shouldered my pack and pulled out my pop tart to eat while I slowly walked uphill. The other hiker was a bit ahead of me and going a little faster than my leisurely stroll. In finished my pop tart and picked up the pace. I started an hour later than usual, I have an all day uphill slog, and I wanted to get 30 miles in  but not hike past 6.

The trail was in the trees as usual. I which is nice when there is an all day event of climbing. I pounded trail and was surprised that I wasn’t sore or moving sluggish like I usually do after a zero. I think because I still walked at least 5 or 6 miles each day in town to get food that my legs didn’t tighten up.


I forgot to figure out the water situation while doing nothing the last couple days. I came across a small stream and sat down just before it so I could figure out what my water situation for the day was. I wrote down a couple places to get water and I didn’t have to get water from where I was at. I got up and just as I was about to step over the small stream I saw a piece paper in a plastic sleeve. It said “DO NOT DRINK WATER.”  Alright then. Wonder what the deal is with that.


The trail made its way up and I passed several junctions. Thankfully they were well marked and listed which direction the PCT went. Sometimes I’ll come to a junction with a sign and there won’t be any indication of which direction to go. 9 times out for 10 it’s just keep going straight. Except the one time I don’t check the trail will make a turn. I came across a sign that had distances in kilometers. Apparently some freedom unit loving hikers don’t take kindly to the commie metric system. I found it a little funny. I passed the other hiker after a few miles. He was sitting on a rock taking his shoes and socks off. A little early for a break I thought but who am I to judge.


I made my way up up up. The trail rounded around a mountain and through the trees I could see I was just below Castle Crags. Would be neat of the trail went up on top of the crags but I knew it wouldn’t. Oh well.


The trail switchbacked up and the trees started to thin out. The sun was being brutal today. My watch showed 95 when I was in the sun for extended periods. So hot. Around 10:45 I found a shaded spot and took a snack break. At the end of my quick 15 minute break I checked my watch and it showed 80°. The shade is much cooler!


The trail continued up and I passed another hiker. The trail was completely exposed for almost a mile. I was sweating buckets. I came across a couple more hikers sitting and saw there was water. The water source seemed a mile early but it was decent and so I stopped to get some. I drank a liter on the spot and then filled up 3 liters. I was showing it was almost 15 miles to the next source. I felt 3 liters was a bit much but I was nervous on the accuracy of th e water report so I decided to be cautious and lug the extra weight up the never ending uphill climb.
The trail was a bit overgrown right after the water. That is always fun. Especially since we are in rattlesnake country again and people keep mentioning poison oak. I haven’t seen any lately although I’m pretty sure I’m still resistant to it. I’ve brushed past it a couple times so far and so far no reactions. I’ll still avoid it if I see it though.


The trail climbed forever. A slow and exposed climb. It also got pretty rocky for a few miles while going over a pass.  Eventually I got high enough and around the mountain I was on to see Shasta pop out. Still amazed by how massive the mountain is.



Not to repeat myself too much and bore you all but I basically went uphill. I kept walking and going uphill. Sometimes the trail would drop a couple hundred feet so that I could do some more uphill. Eventually I came across a spring and I filled up while being swarmed by giant fuzzy bees. I mostly ignore them but they were huge and we’re landing on my legs and walking around.




I grabbed my water and left. I only had two miles before the turnoff for Porcupine Lake. I thought I’d hit the junction by about 6 and when I checked where I was at 5:50 I saw I had passes it 0.2 miles back. What the heck! I didn’t see a sign or side trail. I backtracked and saw a small rocky side trail go up. I followed this trail for 0.2 miles and came to the lake and a couple spots t set up a tent. The spots were right in the sun so I set up and then took my food bag and sat in the shade to eat. I can see hundreds of bugs flying around but none of them are mosquitoes. After the sun set I jumped into my tent and laid down on my sleeping pad. It’s no bed that’s for sure.




  1. Beautiful pics

  2. The deal with that don’t drink the water sign was because there was a fire retardant drop in the area the previous year I believe. I still frank it because it looked good.

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