Up by 6 and ready to be back on the trail. We cleaned up HIKER HUT and said goodby to Dave and Vickie. She is in her mid 70's and he is 80. They keep quite active and enjoy entertaining their bed and breakfast clients. Their house is full of antiques that they have collected over the years. We felt quite blessed to have spent the last 3 nights here. It rained again during the night and we fell asleep listening to the rain on the roof. We are headed to Castella where we will pick up our food resupply at the market. We have changed our route some, but the food will still work out nicely. We will be returning to Etna to do the two sections that we missed due to snow after we get to Sonora Pass. It is a flip and flop maneuver, but feel that it is best for us to hike these two sections with not much snow. We arrive to Ammirati's Market around 10 and retrieve our food box from the market. We go into repack mode which just gets easier. We also keep trying to eliminate any thing that we don't think is necessary . Can't say we are ultralight, but our packs feel so much better than the older days of backpacking!
It is getting close to noon so off we head to the Burger Barn and fill up with a cheeseburger and shake. The joys of hiking lets one eat as much as possible. We need the calories! Our next stop is Crossroads in Dunsmuir where we have contacted the owner about parking our car for the month. She is just leaving to go to a weekend event, but decides that she can drop us off at the road head and take her dog for a short walk. Great! We park our car and hop into hers. We start out on a gentle uphill path lined with older trees. It is like a walk in a cathedral. We often reach out to touch the bark of the trees and are in awe of how long they have been here.
A plant that we do not touch that seems to be quite abundant is poison oak. We have been warned that this plant will cover a lot of the trail going south. It is almost impossible to miss, but we have long pants and long sleeve shirts so that should help.
A mountain feature that stands out in this area is Castle Crags. We often see it thru the trees as we gain elevation.
A fun app that we put on the I phone is plant snap. Since we have cell service during todays hike, we are able to identify two plants.
A baby rattlesnake crossed the trail in front of us. Guess it was warning us that we are sharing the forests. Hard to believe that we are back on the trail with 1000 miles to hike. Just taking one step at a time. Find a nice campsite near the trail and have spaghetti with dried morels for dinner. It is a good day for finding the good!
Miles hiked 7
When we woke up this morning, the first thing we saw outside our tent was a giant pine tree. So far we have not encountered many burned forests in CA. We hope that this will continue. We still remember the many miles of trail that we hiked thru the burned forests of Oregon. We see our first glimpse of Mt. Shasta from the trail.
The day is overcast and there is rain forecast. We hope it holds off for awhile. Meanwhile we notice a pine tree that is new to us. Later we learn it is called Knob pine. The cones are attached to the trunk and only open when exposed to heat.
Also hiking the trail today were 4 hikers going northbound. Two were just hiking a section going north and then south to avoid any snow. Caveman and Hot Lips were getting their legs in shape to hike thru the Sierras mid June. When we dropped off a box of food at Burney Mountain Guest Ranch, the owner had told us about this couple. It is always fun to put names with faces. The other two were older man who had skipped the Sierras and were hoping to head North. We told them what we had experienced in the northern mountains. Today the trail was relatively gentle going up and down on a tree lined trail.
Several bridges spanned creeks today. We always give thanks to the folks that maintain these trails.
Plenty of dogwood brightened the trail today. The flowers were definitely in their peak.
About 3, the overcast clouds opened up and rain began to fall. Out came the rain jackets and umbrellas. Unfortunately we encountered an overgrown trail and the bushes were quite soaking. We decided to call it quits for the day around 4 and luckily had a break in the rain and quickly put up the tent. Donna cooked dinner under her umbrella and the shelter of some pine trees. We were glad to be snugly in our tent when the the rain started pounding.
Miles hiked 16
By morning, the rain of last night had stopped and moisture was only dropping from the branches. We put on our rain gear including our water proof socks as the trail continues to be quite overgrown. The forest was quite lush and moss was growing on the trees. It appears that this section of the forest gets a good amount of rain.
As we worked our way down to the McCloud River a plant with intricate leaf designs caught our eye.
And of course more wild flowers
We heard the McCloud river long before we saw it. It was a beautiful blue color that poured over numerous rocks. We were glad to see that a bridge spanned its width.
It was Memorial weekend and numerous fishermen were here. We quickly passed by the parking lot and soon were surrounded by the quiet gentle giants of the forest back on the trail.
Other plants that were also along the path included a variety of mushrooms. It is amazing how they are able to push the dirt away as they surface.
A movement on the ground caught our eyes. Not sure what we interrupted. but the grip on the one lizard stayed as they moved off of the path.
This slug looked like it was enjoying its meal.
We met a couple who were trying to hike as much of the PCT as they can doing day hikes. They print off maps with dirt roads and then one will start hiking while the other one drives to another road, parks the vehicle and hikes to where they plan on meeting. It is fun to learn all the different ways one hikes this trail. This was a good day to practice sauntering. gentle ups and downs with a good hiking temps. A sign near a trail head gave good advice.
Miles hiked 21
Today, instead of mostly forested trails we also hike by very rugged terrain. A couple that we had met hiking the trail last night wanted to make sure that we looked out for a yellow non chlorophyll plant that they had protected with rocks. It was the first yellow one that they had seen.
Mt Shasta appears as a great backdrop. Still plenty of snow on its summit.
This would be a great hike for those interested in geology.
And of course there were more new flowers and a mushroom with a design.
We thought that this was going to be the day that we did not meet anyone on the trail. Then we smelled a campfire and when we came out into a clearing we say a man cooking over a fire. When he said "hello", Donna said," I know that voice" Sure enough it was the voice of Sid. We had met Sid the first day of our hike on March 24th. We had given him some water, which he now thanked us for. We exchanged stories of our hikes. He had some snow and storm stories that reinforced our plan to skip those areas for now. His home is on the trail and he is ready for a change. One could tell he had been doing some serious thinking of his next steps. We wished him well and headed towards Clark Spring which proved to be a great campsite with a good spring. As usual we are thankful for the hike today!
Miles hike 21
We left Clark Spring after eating a hot breakfast. It was another day of gentle hiking with the trend being mostly down. The first plant that we saw was a purple version of the yellow one we saw yesterday.
Today was no exception for seeing new flowers.
We also managed to see a couple of colorful caterpillar types. We spend a lot of time looking down at the trail. When we don't we often find ourselves tripping on rocks or roots. Due to this we got to see these:
Don takes advantage of the sun to charge our batteries while hiking.
We pass a waterfall that had been suggested as a great swimming hole. The approach was more than a scramble so it was just a photo op for us.
We still see Mt Shasta to the North of us.
And Mt. Lassen is coming into view to the south.
Then comes the bridge over the dam
We see a sign indicating the falls, but decided we will do the tourist walk tomorrow. We find the campground and are the only ones as occupants. About an hour later a man close to our age walks into camp. His name is Lickety Split and spent last summer hiking the trail and is back to do some more this year. We talk for awhile then he decided to hike more in the evening when it was cooler. He saw the falls last year and highly recommends them.
Looks like it is going to be an early to bed night. We are planning on taking a nero tomorrow. Meaning that we will only be walking a short distance tomorrow.
Miles hiked 16
One of the tasks that Don did last night was to find where his sleeping pad was leaking. For the last several nights he has woke up to a flat mattress. That also means I get to wake up and hear him blowing up his mattress. After 3 times it gets to be annoying. Happy to report that the leaks were found and we both had a good nights sleep. We were in slow mode this morning as we ate breakfast and packed up our packs. We plan to spend most of the day here enjoying the falls and relaxing under the shade. There is a store here that sells ice cream and plan to take advantage of that as well. Off to visit the falls, they did not disappoint. Some of the water is from snow run off, but there is also water that seeps thru the limestone. One of the nicest things at the falls is the cool air that surrounds the falls. Apparently in the hot summer months the temps around the falls are noticeable lower. We meet a group of PCT hikers that all skipped the Sierras and are hiking South. Norway is from Czech Republic, Out of the Blue is from Quebec, Ninja Fabric is from Germany, Holmes and Watson are from England. One thing that we have enjoyed on this hike is meeting hikers from all over the world. I will let the photos speak for themselves.
After a dinner cooked at the picnic tables followed by more ice cream, we take a stroll down a very flat trail to our campsite for the night. Tomorrow is another short day as we are getting our resupply box, doing laundry and taking a shower at Burney Mountain Guest Ranch.
Miles hiked 5