Oh boy, so much to write. I’ve really been pounding the trail with little time in town and have not had an opportunity to blog until now. I am in Etna, the last town in California. Over the past few weeks I have been consistently doing 23-26 miles a day. Getting to Canada is a real and timely concern. It’s time to get miles!
After I spent a few days with my family in Sierra City I hit the trail again and headed toward Belden, my next resupply town. I had heard it was creepy, but nobody told me the whole hike would be eery. I hiked for a few days through a dry, hot, and unhealthy forest where I found myself going out of my mind with boredom. I ran into my friend Puppy on the trail and we camped together a couple nights until I stopped to take advantage of a perfect and beautiful ridge where I could dry camp, but only be a mile from water. I knew she was at the water source, but I decided to camp because I hadn’t seen such a beautiful view in days. I was able to watch the sun set and rise from my tent and the hills around were forested and made me think of Oregon, and how close I was to finishing California. This ridge and the Feather River were the two best things that happened to me that week. Everything else was mosquito and poison oak infested, not to mention the occasional rattlesnake (my 3 favorite things!). When I got to Belden I had lunch at the resort which had a bunch of minimally-clothed, pale, zombie-like people wandering around aimlessly. Apparently raves happen here on a weekly basis, and they were the sloppy leftovers.
I slept on the porch of a trail angels house down the road, but got out of town as quickly as possible toward hopefully brighter horizons. The sun was beating down on me while I kept busy dragging my tired body up hill after hill through a dead, burnt forest until I reached Lassen National Forest where water and shade were more prevalent and my spirits were a little higher. I met a girl who I’ve been hiking near for several weeks now, her name is Skidaddle. We have lunch, discuss our daily plans, and often camp together. She has been good company for me, especially since I have done almost the entire trail alone. I was excited to walk through the National Park but it didn’t last long, it only took one day to walk through. Once I reached Old Station I resupplied and got new shoes in the mail! My old shoes had 700 miles on them and they looked it. I was very happy to have new kicks. The next section was Hat Creek Rim which other hikers talked about as the worst part of the PCT due to no water, no shade, high temperatures, and rattlesnakes – it was much different for me thankfully for the clouds in the sky which kept it cooler and a trail angel who kept the cache 22 stocked with water for everyone coming through. I kind of enjoyed that stretch, actually. The haze from distant fires gave the mountain ranges a dream-like feeling.
After I finished up the Rim with some friends Seeking and Delaware Dave, we headed back down into the forest which became moister and moister as the miles went on. Eventually all my trail friends hitched into town while I continued on alone until I ran into some other hikers, Ash and Sierra Bum who I hiked with for several days through Burney Falls State Park all the way to Shasta. I found Skidaddle in the wilderness out of Burney Falls and met some other hikers Rotisserie, Sensai, and Cream Tea – all of which were hiking in the same vicinity for a couple weeks so we all grew fond of one another and shared a big hotel room in Shasta, which was purely awesome. I have not been one of the most social PCT hikers, as I do like my alone time and the freedom to move with my own rhythm, but spending this time with other hikers was really fun and it was so nice to hang out with other girls! Skiddaddle, Cream Tea, and I sat on the bed drinking beer and gossiping. Oh the joy!! 🙂
After “neroing” in Shasta, I hit the trail again with the girls Skidaddle and Cream Tea where we ascended into the Castle Crags, Trinity Alps, and Russian Wilderness’. It was BEAUTIFUL! So different than the high Sierra but so magical. It took us 4 days to get into Etna and here I am now at the Alderbrook Manor Hiker Hut with lots of other hikers.
The hiker life is fun, we are all just living amongst each other as though we are just relaxing in our own living room. I am loving this life on the trail and all the beauty I see. The hiking is fun, but always challenging. I am currently nursing a fluid-filled knee and a shin splint while I rest here. I am trying to prevent more damage so that I can make it all the way! My next town is Ashland, Oregon. WOOHOO!