July 6 – 1366 to 1388 (22 miles)
July 7 – 1388 to 1416 (28 miles)
July 8 – 1416 to 1429 (13 miles)
July 9 – 1429 to 1454 (25 miles)
July 10 – 1454 to 1482 (28 miles)
July 11 – 1482 to 1506 (24 miles)
July 12 – ZERO
Hat Creek Rim. We had been dreading this section for quite some time. It’s a waterless stretch of trail (no water for 33 miles), a recent burn zone, and is full of black, hot, lava rock.
We procrastinated the section, and hung-out at Old Station for at least three hours. Finally, at three o’clock, we rolled out.
It was HOT…as expected – no surprise. But it was also stunningly beautiful! It is always such a pleasant surprise when a rumoured “horrible” section has some redeeming qualities as well. We set up camp among eerily beautiful burned trees, with Mt. Shasta in the distance.
The following day ( July 7), we hit the 1400 mile mark! Feeling awesome! Feeling strong! Feeling capable!
Ridiculously hot…again. Lorax cut my trucker hat into a visor so I can wear my hair in my favourite top-bun. Hiker Trash much…? We reached a water hydro plant in the afternoon, and wasted no time plunging into the water. Our insides were boiling, and the cool, refreshing water saved us. We pushed for a 28 mile day in order to reach the town of Burney. Despite the heat, we managed to finish the miles and be hitching by 5pm. We went to McDonalds for dinner, ice cream, and coffee. The A/C was PUMPING! I can’t believe how cold I was…especially after sweating my butt off all day. I tried to drink lots of fluids with electrolytes to replenish my body, but I think I was beyond dehydrated.
I woke the next morning feeling pretty crappy. Not necessarily sick, but definitely lethargic. “Today I will drink more water, today I will drink more water…” Why does Northern California feel like the desert all over again?! Sigh.
We only did 13 miles today. But I blame our poor progress on being hijacked by Trail Magic several times! After some coffee at a local breakfast joint, we stuck out our thumbs. Several cars passed us by, but as a hippie car approached, we knew we got one. Fourth hitch in a VW van baby! We piled into the back, as two other thru-hikers stacked on top of each other in the front seat. Turns out he already picked up some hiker trash! As we drove down the road, the driver (Uncle Jerry) decided to pickup another hitcher – pile ’em in! It was an eventful 8 mile hitch to say the least.
A mere 1 mile down the trail, and we hit the craziest food stash ever! An entire cupboard filled with hiker food, a cooler filled with cold sodas and water, shaded picnic tables, and a solar shower…all in the middle of the trail. WHAT?! It was nuts.
Only a handful of miles later, we came across “The Pop-Up Trail Angels” – Uncle Jerry, the same guy we hitched with) and The Chef. They called us over to their psychedelic trailer (painted with galaxies and planets), offered cold water and beer, and begun cooking us tacos. The food was delicious! Such a treat.
Ripping our spoiled butts away, we finally pressed on. We ended the pathetically short day with a delightful dip in the coolest swimming hole. Steve was lured in as well, but he decided to push for another 10 miles afterwards (40 mile day for him!), while we just crashed nearby.
On the morning of July 9th, it was apparent that I was sick. It’s common for hikers to talk about bowel movements out here on the trail, so excuse me if this is too much, but basically my bowel movements were not normal. As hard as I try to stay hydrated, hiking this much and this hard puts a serious toll on one’s body – my digestive tract was not impressed. Giardiasis? Random hiker sickness? Extreme dehydration? Not sure…but not fun.
So we hiked. What else could we do three days from town? We also couldn’t afford another crap mileage day considering we sucked the day before. Lorax encouraged me saying, “we’ll just take it easy…just go for a walk.” All I wanted to do was crawl into a bed – if I were “home” I would be watching t.v. with my dog curled up beside me…but instead I hike…for 25 stinking miles.
It was a lethargic morning, with plenty of breaks and tears. STUPID TEARS! They just make me more tired and dehydrated…but then why do I keep crying?! Ugh.
Lorax tried to cheer me up (and did so quite successfully I must add), by serenading me with some stellar singing. “In the Big Rock-Candy Mountains, the jails are made of tin. T-Fox can walk right out again, as soon as she is in. In the Big Rock-Candy Mountains, Lorax is in the lead. He’s charging up the steep incline, at 3 miles-per-hour speed.” Hours of fun here folks!
By mid-day, I felt like I was going to pass out. We took a five minute break off the trail…more like on the trail as my legs were sprawled directly on the foot path. Flying, cruising Tarzan comes whipping by, and upon seeing my sad and sorry condition, he exclaims, “Hang in there baby,” and continues on his way. Did he just call me baby? I love that guy.
July 10th – I don’t even know! I was slow, and sick, and we hiked 28 miles. All I remember was running out of toilet paper (makes sense, considering my state of constant usage), and I was scrambling to grab some leaves because I had to go NOW, when Lorax exclaimed, “there’s an outhouse down here.” You’ve got to be kidding me!! What a stinky, yet welcoming outhouse! It was heaven.
July 11th was poison oak central. That crap was everywhere. The day went really fast though, with Lorax being his usual amusing self. I can always tell when I’m hiking too slow – Lorax starts adding jumps and twists and pole tosses into his hiking…just to keep it fresh. We only had 24 miles to Castella, where we picked up our resupply box filled with more boring hiker food. The plan was to hitch to Mt. Shasta and get a well needed and well deserved hotel room.
We stood at the on-ramp of the highway for a good hour and a half! No luck. There were barely any cars, and it was getting later and even less busy, so we decided to just camp at Castella. We grabbed a two-litre of Rocky Road ice cream and two beers for dinner, gobbled it up (mostly…I may be a hiker, but a litre of ice cream is insane), and went for the 50-cent coin shower at the campground. We pitched our tent in the woods by the store, and were OUT. Didn’t wake up till seven.
Come Jult 12th, we still wanted that zero day in Shasta. So we tore down camp, trudged back over to the highway, and prepared to hitch for as long as it took. We needed town – wifi, food, rest, and a room. We got picked up by the first car! The driver was Rob, and he was awesome. He’s a fellow BC’er who is moving to California to devote his time and energy to surfing. He even lived in Whistler for a bit! He drove us to town, and we continued chatting while he got some breakfast and a coffee. A lady sitting nearby was inspired by our journey, and offered us the rest of her breakfast burrito. She embarrassingly apologized for her dirty napkins, to which I replied, “oh honey, you don’t need to apologize for anything!” Free food. It’s a wonderful thing.