Playing Catch-up

Sorry this is so overdue. As the days get longer, keeping this up-to-date gets harder and harder. Walk, get to camp, eat, sleep. And of course we’re not eating enough or sleeping enough to really sustain thirty plus mile days. But that’s the mileage we hafta do to reach Canadia when we want to.

We have covered 300 miles since the last blog. In eleven days. And we’re only gonna be moving faster from here on out. It’s hard for me to believe we can do more than 31 or 32 miles in a day…but I know it’s gonna happen. And I’m excited to see just how far I can get in one day. Probably not more than 35, but we’ll see.

Since I’m eleven days behind and too lazy to recount every day, this one’s gonna be more of a general recount than a review of everyday. Sorry. Too many words for my tanned, weathered thumbs to write.

Burney to Shasta

Our day out of Burney was an actual nero – 12 miles. We were gonna do 14 but saw Viper and Fun Dip and decided to camp with them on this forest road. Well, at 10pm, way after we were all asleep, we wake up to headlights. A freaking car was coming up the dirt road! Bender was the only one who had to move and zombied his way out of the car’s path. So weird.

The next few days we walked through miserable heat and humidity. A weather alert was sent out warning people to avoid the outdoors because it was so hot. Let’s just say it was in the 100s. I was dying. I slept without my sleeping bag and no shirt because I was drenched in sweat. It was impossible to drink enough water cause it was shooting out of our pores and are feet swelled again from the heat. Like the friggin desert all over again. But we still got the miles in – 28.8 and 30.6. Had a sweet campsite on a ridge with a view of Shasta in the distance surrounded by cool clouds. Nice thing to look at when you’ve been drinking your own sweat all day.

We gotta swim in McLoud River, which was a nice break from the heat but had an immediate climb after so dried off real quick to then be soaked in sweat again. I swear I enjoy what I’m doing. We had a party campsite, Taylor and the Swiss, Viper, Fun Dip, Murphy’s Law, Franger, Beast, Masa, Bender, S&M, and me.

Hitched into Shasta after three days on trail. After eating a motherload of wild blackberries under the highway. If I were (actually) homeless I would live there. We ate Round Table’s pizza buffet, totally hit the spot. Hit all the spots cause I got full!! What a feeling. I actually splurged for a motel and gotta sleep in a luxurious queen-sized bed. Rad.

Shasta to Etna

Got a hitch out of Shasta with the owner of Yaks, a restaurant I now REALLY wanna go back too. She usually gives hikers a free lunch there, but it was 7:30am.

The weather cooled down for this stretch, thank god, cause we had a steep climb out of Shasta. Through…wait for it…more trees. Getting a little sick of the green tunnel. But we finally burst through and saw Castle Crags! A very, very nice change. The climb mellowed out and we had the SICKEST camp spot on this ridge, with a view of Shasta, and the most spectacular sunset. It is amazing how much better you feel when you’re not sweating your balls off.

Did two thirties in a row after that. Prepping for Oregon! Walked through a zillion meadows and through a zillion trees to camp by Highway 3. Not even cars could wake me. So much tired all the time.

Doing two thirties in a row was actually easier than expected. Probably because we weren’t walking through a green tunnel. We saw snow-covered peaks in the distance (can’t believe I am gonna say this but I miss snow), red rocks filled with green meadows, granite mountains, the whole sha-bang. So many wildflowers again and we saw more lakes below us. Of course never on trail. These ones reminded me of the lake where Harry Potter and Dumbledore destroy the horcrux in the locket cause they were so black and surrounded by stone. Eery but beautiful.

S&M got off at Highway 93 to be with her boyfriend for her birthday. I should see her in Ashland. Bender and I continued on into our next obstacle…THUNDAH STORMS. OOOH was it epic. We climbed, yes, walked UP, into the storm with its massice gray clouds blanketing the sky, its flashes (not strikes, luckily) of lightening, and booms of thunder. I actually got to use my rain gear! We were sweating every bit of water in our bodies a few days ago and then we got drenched.

I peaked right as the rain let up and walked into camp. Got into Etna the next day where Bender decided to stay for a friend and I FINALLY caught up to Unger and Wasabi and hiked out with them.

The walk into Etna was through burnt forest, which was weirdly beautiful in the morning light. We passed OG – a women who is sectioning from Castella to as-far-as-she-can-go with a leather pack, no phone, iodine pills, allllll the old school stuff. Oh and her dog. Serious, serious props. She said her pack weighed 100lbs at ons point!!! Totally crazy.

Our hitch into Etna was with a forest service guy and we sat on the back of his truck as we drove down the windy road to town. I had to keep leaning in or out to counteract the curves of the road. Kinda scary. Ate a burger, taco, and milkshake at Dotty’, which barely filled me up, then resupplied at Dollar General. I. Love. The. Store. Cheap and you get what you want, aka candy, chips, ramen…pure shit. But it’s cheap! My fav.

When I was trying to get my hitch back to the trail, a car pulled up going the other way, telling me he was going back to the trailhead later that night for two other hikers and had just dropped a load off. After some questioning, I figured out it was Unger’s friend who they had been staying with! So I hopped in his car, went to his house, ate fresh strawberries, baked potato, roast, chips…lots. Lots of yum. Even had a shower.

We hit the trail at 8pm and hiked 11 miles to where the others were camped. Others being Lady, Olaf, Neon, Peanut, and Karaoke. I flew
through the night cause I wanted to get there. I mean, we started hiking when I normally go to sleep. Got there in under four hours and I plopped down and passed out.

Etna to Ashland

And so began the race to get out of California. 1680 trail miles long. Complete with desert, high mountains, low mountains, green tunnels, t-storms, heat waves, too much snow, too much water. Holy shit was I excited to leave this state. It is so goddamn long. You hike through six times as many states on the AT. My buddy Stewart crosses a border every time I talk to him and here I am still in my first one. Jesus.

Surprised the crew in the morning with our prescence and then we walkes through meadows, meadows, and more meadows. We’re seeing different wildflowers too, which is awesome. It is so colorful and pretty. We passed below Marble Gap, this big white out cropping and more red rocks to contrast with the vibrantly green meadows. This section was SO much more enjoyable than the last.

But of course, there always has to be something. More thunderstorms. We saw a ground strike off in the distance before one flashed RIGHT above our heads, followed IMMEDIATELY by the loudest crackling, booming, rumbling wave of thunder. It sat me right down. I just dropped it scared me so bad. So we decided to get off the ridge. Always at the highest point, we are. The sky continued to aggressively talk to us till camp but no rain!

Made it to Seid Valley. Walked the 14.5 flat miles to town through river forest and then road. I really hate road walking. But there were so many blackberries and I saw the world’s largest pig. 600 lbs large. The owner chatted with us for a while and offered us a dozen eggs but we had no way to carry em. Ah well.

In Seid, also in the State of Jefferson, wooo eee, got a smoothie and a fat burger. So damn good. I could eat for a year at this point I’m so hungry all the time. Trying to keep on those pounds though…it’s so hard. Lost about five now I think. Anyways, got wifi for the first time since July 30 – 48 texts, 50 emails…. ya. I like not having wifi or service but then you get a freaking overload.

Had a 4500 foot climb out of Seid, our last big climb!! Could not believe it. I sang the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song to myself and walked for three hours straight without knowing it. It was smokey unfortunately. And of course a thunderstorm came in as we were climbing but it blew away fast enough for us to feel comfortable cowboying.

How I feel about hiking in smoke:

And then, then we left California forever. Ok, not forever but close enough. WE ARE DONE WITH ONE STATE. We have officially crossed a border!!! I love you Cali, but I am always trying to get out of you. Yes, half of Oregon is on fire but we are done with you! Done. No more. What a feeling. I always said in the desert, IF I make it to Oregon and now I am here. Oh the glory. It was wildflowers and forest to the border and forest after. But it was so much prettier cause it was coming from Oregon soil. Took a naked photo of us at the border with Oregon on our backs. Classic with thos group. We were welcomed with more t storms this time with rain. The clouds always make the sky look so epic, it’s worth the rain.

And now we are in the lovely town of Ashland, a place I have driven through a number of times and now have walked to it. I have had more cell service in Oregon than in CA and have walked the length of I-5, which I have also driven a number of times. I can’t believe we are here! Zeroing, even though there is still a major time crunch for the wedding…average has to go up to 25 miles per day after this zero…but it feels good to sleep in, relax, look at all these friggin fires and eat, eat, eat. Staying at a cute hostel and waiting for S&M. Who knows when the next blog will be. Maybe Washington? Until then, toodles.

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