Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 95 to 97 - Burney Falls to Shasta

July 29 - August 1
Day 95 to 97
Miles:  21+24+25+27
Total Miles:   1505

Burney Falls
Jubel and I hiked to Burney Falls Stat Park today, July 29th.  We caught up with others at the park store - Mellow Yellow, Action Pack, Smiles and others.  After a long six-hour siesta eating over-priced but still appreciated hot dogs, ice-cream cones and burritos, we hiked on to a bridge spanning a waterfall, where we camped.  Sleeping on a bridge is a treat because I get a flat spot and security from ants and other dirt dwelling insects, and the sound of the waterfall below is a pleasant white noise that puts me to sleep.  Besides we had no choice, the only other flat spot nearby was occupied by a couple thru-hiking with their seven-year old son, and we did not want to hike farther down the trail.

Sleeping on a bridge

The next day Action Pack joined us on our hike through logging trails and forest service roads.  Hiking was hot and dusty - less than enjoyable.  Lunch was a disaster as we setup on a dirt road and I was immediately attacked by fire ants.  I had traded my shoes for my sandals to let my feet breathe, but that only gave an opening to the ants to crawl up my sandals and either bite my feet or attack the soft cushiony material of my sandals, hanging on with their pincers like they were bringing down a struggling mouse.  The shade also kept moving from my lunch spot forcing me to constantly shift closer to the side of the road into the bushes to hide from the sun's rays.  Time to move on.  

After lunch the three of us, Action, Jubel and I detoured onto a dusty road.  If you can't avoid them then walk on them I suppose. We spotted some fresh bear tracks, but mostly we just left clouds of dust swirling in the air behind us before hiking back onto the trail.  We ended this misery at a creek next to some other day hikers and the family with the seven-year-old hiker, and appropriately, the mosquitoes buzzed around my head all night forcing me to set up my tent at around midnight.  I had thought they would die off when the sun went down so I had only laid out my sleeping pad and bag, but I was wrong.  The little winged devils constantly dive-bombed my face and woke me up with their high-pitched buzzing.

July 31st was an improvement - we hiked up out of the dirt logging roads and onto a scenic ridge with fantastic views of Mt. Shasta.  We then descended to the McCloud River where I had hoped swimming looked good, but when I arrived the sun was setting and the water was cold so I just soaked my feet and washed my legs.  A few miles beyond the bridge over the McCloud we hiked to a camping spot along a feeder creek.  

The next day was all about hiking.  The goal?  Interstate-5 and Ammarrati's Market in the small town of Castella.  And then a hitch to the town of Shasta.  Ammarrati's is a market a couple road-walking miles from where I-5 crosses the PCT.  It is known to have a great selection of beers, along with ice-cream, burritos and all sorts of other hiker-trash food.  The only issue is that the store closes at 9 and I have 27 miles to cover and I wasn't doing myself any favors with a late start that morning.

I hiked mostly alone as Jubel took off early from the camping spot at the creek, too impatient to wait.  I made it before closing time by just 15 minutes!  Jubel was waiting as he had arrived several hours earlier!  (apparently he took an alternate route on logging roads to the highway)  IPod and Scout were also hanging out on the front picnic table.  Jubel had a contact in town who gave us all a ride into Shasta to the KOA campground where we stealth camped.

Mt. Shasta


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PCT Northern Terminus

PCT Northern Terminus
On September 30, 2012 I reached the Northern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. Thanks to everybody who supported and followed my journey. It was a life-changing experience!