Smoke and Cows

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It is about 100 miles from Etna to the I-5 where I caught a ride to Mt Shasta.  I think of a 100 mile stretch, plus or minus, as 5 days, 4 nights, and that’s how I calculate how many days of food I need.  The mileage usually gets broken up with a 12-16 mile Day 1, then Days 2, 3 and 4 have to be 22-25 miles depending on where water and campsites are located, and Day 5 is shorter if possible so I have time to do town stuff like charging all my devices, showering, washing clothes and eating real food before heading back to the trail the next morning with a new supply.

The NOBO numbers are dropping but I warned a bunch about the fire and trail closure north, including charming Bo Peep who was going to call his mom and let her know he was OK.  “She wants to hike the PCT too!” he said.  So I told him to tell her she could do it if I could and that I did the whole thing last year.  Fun!

The daylight hours are shorter now, light at 6, dark at 8:15 and there’s been a few hiking with headlamps at night that are still sleeping when I walk by in the light of morning.  I got water out of a little spring at 7:45 one morning, listening to cowbells nearby.  Coming around a corner there were 2 lovely black cows standing in an empty campsite with room for several tents.  I talked to them and they stared at me like I was putting on a really fantastic Broadway show.  A minute down the trail I nearly fell over a couple of hikers cowboy camping in a wide flat spot in the trail.  One guy apologized and said it was the best they could do in the dark last night.  I laughed and said the cows had a pretty good campsite just up the trail.

The smoke thickened and settled and blew off depending on the time of day, but the last night was pretty bad and Mt Shasta was nearly obscured.  Or maybe that night was bad because I pitched my tent on a slope and a rock and was sliding to the bottom of it all night long, then scooching back to the top and lying cattywhompus to avoid the rock.

I like this part of the trail, it continues along the ridge, weaving from side to side.  The last day I made 15 miles by noon and called for a shuttle pickup to Mt Shasta because they had an outfitter and I needed new shoes and to take a zero to do some computer research for my job that pays me.  The Altra Lone Peaks 3.0 plus the little Velcro arch support I found at Rite Aid have nearly resolved the plantar fasciitis that has crippled my uphill hiking since the beginning of this trail.

And then Puff Puff arrived after having to skip the fire closure around Seiad Valley.  Wish I had been forced to skip that hell.  I am so stoked to have her to hike with for the next while, hopefully through the Sierra!



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