PCT Weeks…I don’t know…Chester to Shasta

At this point I have barely any idea what day of the week it is, let alone which week we’re in of this journey so the naming convention of these posts will change accordingly.  Also, we were in such heavy tree cover the second half of this stretch that our Garmin watches underestimated mileage, so take those numbers with a grain of salt!

After being home for over a week, my husband drove us up to Chester to resume hiking North. We’ll be back for the Sierras later in the season!

Day 68: Hwy 36 to Willow Lake Trailhead, 17.43 miles

Saying goodbye is hard, especially since we are now increasingly further from home. But it is definitely exciting to resume hiking in both the completely new terrain of Northern California and an area we have never explored much.

This burn area had all sorts of hollowed out, barely standing trunks. Campsite! (jk)

The heat was pretty intense since there was no shade from the dead trees. It also makes for very fine, dark soil that gets into every crevice.

Attention all my IKEA lovers out there: pack out their fried onions and gravy powder for your instant taters.  You’ll think you’re back in that magical food court.

Trail magic on our first day back! We stumbled upon a cooler with cold beers close to a dirt road. Thank you!

AGREED. I think all the 2023 hikers have permanent trauma from any snow they encountered on trail thus far.  Just knowing that we had a couple miles of snow coming up in the next week was triggering!

Day 69: Willow Lake Trailhead to Dirt Road, 21.96 miles

We hiked through Lassen National Park this day.  It was closed to cars due to snow, so it was basically just us and a lot of friendly deer all day. This deer clearly didn’t get the memo that you’re not supposed to walk so close to Boiling Lake.

Bye deer!

Hello deer!

Lassen was largely a burn area like the previous day. This made for more hot hiking. However, having the park to ourselves and seeing all the interesting volcanic landscape was very special. We also started our new routine of eating dinner a couple miles from camp.  It allows us to avoid smelly cooking at camp in bear areas and gives us a nice break before hiking the last bit to camp. Once we get to camp, we just have to set up tents and collapse!

Trees are so cool. Look at the size of this root system!

We hiked until we were just outside the park and camped at the end of an old dirt road.


Day 70: Dirt Road to Ridge Campsite, 21.38 miles

In the middle of a hot day, we made the detour to see Subway Cave.  It was surprisingly long and perfectly chilly.

We started climbing up to the infamously exposed and hot Hat Creek Rim.  The burn area definitely didn’t help!

Once we got to the top, we relaxed in the shade of a pit toilet at an overlook. You have to use whatever shade is available!

We set up camp as the sun set over a ridge. But before we could relax, we needed to make the detour down the cliff to Lost Creek. At 600 ft down, it was quite the detour.

Day 71: Ridge Campsite to Creek Mosquito Hell, 21.88 miles

Super glueing shoes- all part of the thru hiking experience.

This was a long, hot day. Long water carries surrounded a trail angel-maintained cache named Cache 22. We quickly understood why Hat Creek is so notoriously brutal.

We eventually got to camp by a creek. The mosquitos were brutal but we were done and could finally collapse!

Day 72: Creek Mosquito Hell to Burney, 4.4 miles

Town day! We had a little over 4 miles to hike to the highway before getting a hitch into Burney. We passed a water power plant on the way out.

We quickly got a hitch with a man that had grown up in Burney but was just passing through for a wedding. He was super nice and dropped us off at McDonalds.

Time for lots of food and chores!

Day 73: Burney to Old Road, 18.23+ miles

We hiked out of Burney and took the detour to Burney Falls. It was beautiful! And even more beautiful…the gigantic soft serve comes at the visitor center.

Hiking out of the falls, we passed Lake Britton and the dam. We still are not used to seeing this water after 700 miles in the desert!

Day 74: Old Road to Moose Creek, 19.31+ miles

The deer in this stretch were so curious and friendly. At lunch, a mom and her kid came right up to us and ate the leaves around our spot while we ate lunch. I’ve never seen such chill deer!

I think someone forgot something…

These trees tickled me. Don’t they look fake?!

Day 75: Moose Creek to Deer Creek, 15.69+ miles

Well…we hit the snow. It was only a handful of miles but it still slowed us down quite a bit. There were tall banks and endless blowdowns. I fell several times and at one point, my pack, which I had taken off to slide down a steep bank, tumbled down the mountainside. I was terrified that it was gone forever but we hiked down and finally found it. Moral of the story…SNOW SUCKS.

The afternoon was full of sweeping views. We felt like we had transported to Washington.

Big trees!

We camped past some blowdowns at Deer Creek. I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised that a deer lived at Deer Creek. He emerged as we ate dinner and proceeded to hangout with us all night. Wild!

Day 76: Deer Creek to Dirt Road, 16.34+ miles

We still gawk at all the green at water.

We may be out of the desert but we are still getting rattled at!! When will we be done with rattlesnakes??!!!

Day 77: Dirt Road to Shasta, 18.25+ miles

It’s town day again! We had a full day of hiking ahead of us but if we hustled we could at least shower and sleep in a bed that night!

We had beautiful views of Shasta and Castle Crags.

We got to the road and realized it was not exactly heavily trafficked. We waited for quite awhile and tried hitching with the few cars that passed with no luck and resigned to walking to a nearby campsite…but then a lovely lady named Noel pulled a u turn and swung around to pick us up with her two cutie dogs!

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Comments 2

  • Paul : Jul 13th

    What kind of asshat thinks it’s OK to write messages on trail markers?

  • Amanda : Jul 16th

    Omg did you find any cave creatures?? Hope you’ve been feeling better for this leg of the trip!


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