Day 56 - July 9 - end at 1392.5 - No bears came last night... at least none that I know of ;). I had a leisurely walk into Old Station this morning where I got a veggie burger, fries, and salad at JJ's cafe to go with my coffee and beer. After eating junk food for several days straight this really hit the spot. Before leaving town I stopped at the gas station to grab a days worth of food for the short upcoming 30 mile section. Just outside of town I detoured to visit the Subway Cave, a really cool cave/tunnel formed by lava flow when Lasses Peak erupted in 1915. Turns out that scary looking mountain that I first saw yesterday was this volcano and the reason for the national park. My afternoon hike was part of Hat Creek Rim which is a 30 mile dry section reminiscent of the desert in SoCal. I cammeled up and brought 5 liters but thankfully it wasn't hot. There were lots of clouds in the sky and a wind going. I almost stepped on a rattlesnake and then another snake 5 minutes later. This scared the heck out of me and I started watching the trail more closely. It started to rain and I got wet for the first time ever on this trail. I found a small shelter at a water cache trail magic stop where I enjoyed a quick meal, then I hiked for about 3 mIles in the rain and when there was a break and I saw a campsite I took it, despite it being a little bit earlier than I normally camp. I'm glad I took the spot though as the rain has continued off and on and I'm dry inside my tent and about to go to bed early. I forgot what rain like this was like. Common Nighthawks are calling and booming outside in the dusk.
Day 57 - July 10 - end at mile 1419.5. Today was a really good day. I walked in the morning about 15 miles to the Burney Mountain Guest Ranch. The sun rose up as I walked and drived me out good. I passed a lake that had American White Pelicans! A really cool life bird for me. At the ranch I was able to do a bunch of chores, relax, and eat. The folks there were real nice got cleaned up good. I really liked this place a lot. Probably my favorite stop so far. My shirt hasn't been so white since Day 1! Leaving with 3 new days of food, I only went about a mile before coming to trail magic! A picnic table with food and drinks. Real nice. I signed the table as this was the custom here. I noticed this bird again that I saw earlier in the day but couldn't identify. Now I knew.. Lewis's Woodpecker!! Lifer! Then in the evening I came to Burney Falls where Black Swifts nest behind the falling water. Lifer #3 in one day! Now I'm camping up on a hill and I smell strong of laundry detergent in my tent. It's a good scent.
Day 58 - July 11 - end at mile 1456.0. Today was a pretty good day though nothing really happened and the trail was kinda boring. The highlight of the day was beautiful vistas of Mt. Shasta which stands alone, is huge, and is snow covered reminding me of Mt. Fuji in Japan. Met some new people today who I hiked with a little bit. We separated in the evening as I prepped dinner but I think they're only camping about a half mile back. Ate good food today. Two fancy Backpacker's Pantry meals: Louisiana red beans and rice, and spicy salsa... yum.
Day 59 - July 12 - end at mile 1491.1 -today was another quiet day with not much exciting features on the trail. Winding up and down and around the pine forest mountains all day long. Not really any views though one of Shasta near the end. Some cool rivers with footbridges to pass. Cleaned up a bit in one. I've run out of food which is a bummer and tomorrow need to do 10 miles into Castella. But there I will be picking up a mail drop with food and a smaller pack and sleeping bag. There's a convenience store there too so my goal is to leave down very, very full.