Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 13 to July 20 - Castella, CA to Ashland, OR

Day 60 - July 13 - end at mile 1517.4 -Today was a good day. I got up early to hike the remaining miles to Castella. I only had a single tortilla to eat but I drank a lot of water to fill me up and I was motivated by the store ahead. After descending for a couple hours, I reached the road a brief roadway brought me to the market and post office. I had two hours to spend until the post office opened so I bought a big convenience store breakfast and lunch and ate them one after another out front in the shade. At 11 I picked up my mail drop which contained 3 days of awesome food selected by Greta and my smaller backpack, 30 degree sleeping bag, and a different rain coat. It probably hasnt gone below mid 40s since I left the Sierras and I expect to finish in Washington before it gets very cold. I swapped out my gear and now have an appropriately sized small backpack for the little amount of stuff I have. I mailed home my bulkier stuff along with some cast offs from a selfgiven pack shakedown and then headed back to trail after enjoying a Coke. Twenty miles uphill to camp and it was a real sweatfest. Got up to the 90's today. Saw a nice view of both Mt Shasta and the Castle Crags together and took a photo. I think the traprock tower in CT that I saw on the New England Trail was called Castle Craig? Funny coincidence but they're very different things. Better view here than that misty day this Spring.

Day 61 - July 14 - end at 1557.7. Today was one of those days where I didn't feel motivated but there was nothing to do but walk. There was minimal shade and the trail was monotonous. I almost stepped on a green rattlesnake. Saw a bunch of deer resting, laying down on the trail in the shade. This looked good except for all the bugs going after them. Hiked about 40 miles today and still managed to take a bunch of "no motivation" breaks. New pack feels good. It's light enough now that the waist strap doesn't do anything but stabilize... could possibly remove it but it's nice for the occasional run. Tomorrow we enter Trinity Alps Wilderness which is supposed to be nice. I'll position myself by end of day to Nero the following day in Etna. Looking forward to getting my new shoes there as the ones I got in mammoth are already ripping and never fit well to begin with. Going back to my favorite shoes. Best part of the day was these amazing rehydrated beans with broccoli, corn, and hotsauce that Greta sent me. Eating my third helping now...

Day 62 - July 15 - end at 1591.5. The morning went by quickly. There was a decent amount of shade and the trail was more interesting and scenic. I knew I didn't need to rush today so I took lots of short breaks throughout the day. The afternoon dragged on as it was hot and sunny. I'm sick of the sun more than anything else. California has the worst weather.  Two months out here without a single cloudy day. Saw a bear in the afternoon which was pretty cool. I first saw a black rock and was like... that rock looks like a bear... oh it is a bear! It was on a steep slope and as soon as it saw me it turned around and hauled aas down the slope at super fast speed... kicking up a giant dust cloud. An impressive feat. This bear seemed pretty big, glad it ran away. Camping next to a cool mountain lake. Fish keep coming to the surface to eat insects with a little splashing sound.

Day 63 - July 16 - end at mile 1597.2. Left camp early to hike two hours down to the road. Here I hitched a ride into Etna with a local named Allen and his dog in an old, cool Volvo sedan. Had to wait a bit for any cars to come by but this first one picked me up. Took a nearo rest day. Etna is a small town but had what I needed. After espresso at the town coffee shop, I did my groceries and checked in at Hiker Hut at Alderbrook Manor hostel. Had a nice day. Ate and drank and sat a lot.

Day 64 - July 17 - end at mile  1626.5 - Left town in the morning with the first car going by. This guy lived in town and was bringing up two other hikers who he let stay at his place last night. Today's hike was nice. Scenic and never got too hot with decent shade. Saw another big black bear this morning on the trail. I raised my arms and yelled and it turned and bolted off. Lots of deer too. Today had parts that reminded me of the Sierras. Jagged rocks and lakes. Even a tiny bit of snow. Far out to the west, beyond the mountains, I can see a blanket of clouds low, way under my elevation. I assume this is the coastal "marine layer" that was so common at the southern terminus. If that was not there I wonder if it would be possible to see the ocean? At dusk I heard two hermit thrushes singing in duet. The same song but one was offset by about a second. It was beautiful music.

Day 65 - July 18 - end at mile 1660.1. Got up at 5:15 which was a first in a while. Was happy I did because it was a beautiful sunrise and I hiked for hours before it warmed up and got sunny. By that point, I was well into a 24 mile descent into Seiad Valley and was shaded by trees. The descent went by quickly and then was followed by what has been the longest road walk on the official route so far at about 7 miles. Only about 2 miles or less of this had any traffic though. There were lots of blackberries alongside the roads ripe for the picking. At the town's store I picked up a bit of food to get me to Ashland and hung out for a bit with other hikers. Took off around 6 to climb the steepest climb on the PCT, 4500ft in 8 miles. The weather was cool and the sun was down and since this is the PCT the trail wasn't that steep, nor where there any obstacles in the trail. So I went up a full speed and was rewarded with a beautiful red cloud sunset, a full moon, and an awesome campspot just off the ridge top overlooking the valley below and surrounding mountains.

Day 66 - July 19 - end at mile 1697 - Left camp before 6. The sun was not yet over the mountains. I wanted to do as many miles as I could today because tomorrow I'm going into Ashland and want to get there early. The day went by nicely. This area is very scenic. Many wildflowers are blooming so it's very colorful. Didn't get hot today either which was nice and there were lots of fluffy clouds in the sky. At 5pm, I entered into Oregon. After two months, I'm finally in the second state. California was pretty but I'm happy to now be on the Oregon trail.

Day 67 - July 20 - end at mile 1715.2. Got moving this morning and didn't stop until I reached the highway. I had reserved a room in Ashland, which my aunt Meg generously paid for to support my hike, and I wanted to get there ASAP to start relaxing and work on putting together food mail drops for the rest of Oregon. The hike was scenic and mostly downhill. At one point there was about a dozen American Kestrels on this meadowy slope flying about and hunting. This was very cool. I got to the road around noon and one of the first cars picked me up to take me to my hotel. The driver was a nice local named Cody and his young son who told us about his funny  dreams. After checking in, I went across the street to eat 4 taco bell burritos and foodshop. The grocery store here had a lot of good food that I like and low prices. I'm going to eat great in Oregon. Now I need to box it up and mail out four packages. Chores easily consume rest days but it's nice to take a break and tomorrow I'll go downtown for new socks and to experience culture before heading  back to the trail.

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