July 13 – 1506 to 1531 (25 miles)
July 14 – 1531 to 1554 (23 miles)
July 15 – 1554 to 1584 (30 miles)
July 16 – 1584 to 1607 (23 miles)
July 17 – 1607 to 1630 (23 miles)
July 18 – 1630 to 1656 (26 miles)
July 19 – 1656 to 1680 (24 miles)
July 20 – 1680 to 1710 (30 miles)
July 21 – 1710 to 1727 (17 miles)
July 22 – ZERO
We are alive. Just beat. So we apologize for this HUGE post, but we have been a tad bit busy trying to average a marathon worth of walking everyday. We’re sure you understand…
July 13th – 25 miles
We leave our motel room in Mount Shasta at the ungodly hour of 6 am (honestly, isn’t half the point of getting a room to sleep well and sleep IN?), and load our gear into a small and cramped shuttle car with two other hikers – Wash Pot and White Water. We decided to shell out the money for a cab rather than hitch because we wanted to get an early start, and by “we,” I really mean “you know who.” Love you Lorax!
What a gorgeous section! We found ourselves entering Castle Crags Wilderness area, which was scattered with breath-taking castle-esque rock. I was waiting for the fairies and dragons to emerge from their hiding places among the magical rocks, but it must have been too dang hot. I can’t really blame them for staying in the shade. We, on the other hand, had to climbing the hot hot sun…man was it humid and hot! There was sweat dripping down my face…my back…my EVERYWHERE. We had to climb 5000 feet in total. Why does every first day back on the trail include a monstrous climb??
Despite the heat, the climb went well. Until..wait a minute…was that an F-bomb?
“Lorax, did you hear an F-bomb behind us?”
“No…I think it was my pack creaking.”
Fast forward 10 minutes later – loud, clear, ANGRY profanities from someone behind us in the trail.
“Do you think he’s ok? Should we go check?” I ask.
“No. Those weren’t yells for help. Someone’s just not having a good day.”
20 minutes later, while we’re sitting down to lunch, Wash Pot rolls in, all sweaty and tired.
“Sorry about that little display of anger…that’s kind of embarrassing,” he confesses.
Lorax comforts him by replying, “Oh, you don’t have to apologize to T-Fox. She is the Queen of temper tantrums.” I just smile.
“I think I’ll just hang with you two today if you don’t mind.” And so the threesome formed! A memorable day filled with great conversation. Wash Pot even deemed it “Real Name Monday,” and revealed himself as Jeff. “I’m Tara. Nice to meet you Jeff.” It was all strangely formal, but fun.
We decided to camp beside a beautiful lake and take a much needed swim. I have never had so much salt crusted in my hair before! As we sauntered into camp, we noticed it was a campground accessible by vehicle, and there were several vehicles at that. “If we can’t yogi some free stuff, there is something seriously wrong with us,” Wash Pot announced. “To yogi” is a term that refers to getting free food (or anything) from people who are not hiking. Think Yogi the Bear, and his fantastic ability to “yogi” food from campers in Jellystone.
So we put our serious yogi on, and waltzed right up to a campsite with three adults and two children, and several dogs. “Oh, there’s dogs…I totally got this!” I tell Wash Pot. After 30 minutes or so of wonderful conversation with Tim, Cookie and friends, we all have drinks in our hands, and our “arms are being twisted” to stay for dinner. Well if you insist…
We stay up late telling all sorts of tales from our travels to these fine folk, and finally retire to our sleeping pads. We camp under the open sky tonight, complete with a full moon. What a great day! I’m so glad we’re doing this! What a blast.
July 14th – 23 miles
I wake up the following morning feeling very under-rested. I toss and turn in my sleeping bag, wishing the daylight away, but to no avail. Lorax hands me breakfast, and I grudging eat. At least today is going to be easy! We hardly have any elevation to gain or lose…just smooth sailing.
But I sucked. It was as if someone had stashed 20 extra pounds of goodness-knows-what into my pack. I was crawling.
For some reason, I was all anxious about “being bored.” I know…it’s pathetic now looking back on things, but at the time, all I could think about was how I just want to do something other than WALKING. I could be mountain biking, or lounging by a pool, or just simply be surrounded by friends and family. Can I honestly make it to Canada? Will I lose interest completely? So I even want this anymore? And so on.
I’ sad to report that this lasted all day, and the result was a measly 23 miles on one of the easiest terrains. Oh well. Can’t win ’em all right?! Since Lorax had a great day, he wanted me to note that we saw lots of colourful butterflies today, and a Jack rabbit! I’m glad he wasn’t bored and he enjoyed himself.
July 15th – 30 miles
The next morning, I was ready to hike! I was feeling strong, capable, and stoked. Do I have bi-polar? Possibly. But after talking to lots of hikers out here, I’m getting the impression that I’m not alone. The highs are high, bit man are the lows low! It comes with the territory I guess. Yesterday felt like “miles away.” How could I feel so down?!
We spent the day hiking in The Trinity Alps Wilderness. Gorgeous.
July 16th – 23 miles
Ugh. Down again. No idea why.
Lots of people are dropping out at this point, and I have a good idea why. I don’t want to quit (not at all, and I won’t!), and I can’t imagine many people actually WANT to leave the trail. This adventure is amazing and we are all so fortunate to be out here. But maybe the constant hiking is getting to people…maybe it’s just too much. Just a theory. But having gone through this, I have a lot more grace towards people who hang in the towel. This is HARD. Harder than I ever imagined.
As I trudged along and dragged my foxtail, I mentioned to Loraxhow I wished we were going to Etna. Etna is a town that’s a 15 mile hitch off trail, but we had no need for a town – we had enough food. A few minutes later, Lorax suggested that we go anyway. “You’re tired Hun. You need a break.” Music to my ears!! I think I started crying more when he said that. What a sweet man I have…
So we hitched to town around 6pm, after completing 23 miles. It was a hard day. But knowing that I would get a hot dinner was a huge morale boost. After dinner, we set up our tent behind some trees (possibly private land, but it was dark and we weren’t bothering anyone), and hit the hay. It was a warm night!
July 17th – 23 miles
We wake at our usual 5am start, even though we’re in town. There’s something about camping and getting up with the morning light…it just feels natural. We take down camp, and walk the 2 minutes across the road to a local bakery.
Doors open at 6am – we’re there on the dot. Coffee! Breakfast sandwiches! Donuts!
After our complete sugar overload at the bakery, we head to an area of Etna that’s better suited for hitching. We eat another donut (which is just glutinous!) and stick out our thumbs. There are very few cars, but we are picked up by a local man named Tim who is heading up the mountain to do construction work. We load into the back of the pick-up and are in for a windy and winding ride.
Upon dropping us off at the trailhead, Tim proceeds to rant about the Forest Service, to which we nod and smile. It’s always refreshing to see people who are passionate, whatever it may be about. There’s only one world, but there’s many different tastes, opinions, and passions. Tim was awesome – we admired his determination and desire to share his thoughts with the world.
Soon we were in Marble Mountain Wilderness – full of alpine lakes, twisting trails, jagged peaks and spectacular views. Lorax has deemed this sections, “one of his favourites.” How many favourites can one person have anyway? We are both exhausting the list…
We had a delicious afternoon swim in one of those lakes. The water was teeming with fish and salamanders! They were not phased by our presence at all, and continued to swim around happily and carelessly. Thanks for reminding me to just take it easy and enjoy my swim Sun Dogs!
July 18th – 26 miles
This is jus embarrassing…but I struggled again. I think NorCal has been a lot harder than I expected, and I’m a bit upset at myself for not “flying down the trail” everyday. I need to learn to allow myself to take breaks, to slow down, and to do whatever I need to in order to enjoy myself. There’s nobody holding a gun to my head, and screaming, “Walk Fox!!” So relax…enjoy…live.
By the end of the day, it was all I could do to make it to camp. There was poison oak everywhere, and it was so draining avoiding it! Everything is green out here…how am I supposed to see the oak?! I trudged on, and chanted to myself, “You are strong and capable…strong and capable…strong and capable…” all the way to camp. Not sure if it helped, but it felt appropriate.
July 19th – 24 miles
Today we hiked 6 miles to reach Seiad Valley for breakfast! The road on the way to town had blackberry bushes all along it, and I was scolded by Lorax several times to “get my paws out of the berry bushes!”…but I just couldn’t help myself. As we neared town, there was a black bear meandering along the road coming towards us. I imagine he was loving the berries as well. As he approached, we started yelling, “Hey bear!” in low voices. The second he saw us, he was gone in a flash.
The town is on the trail, so we just had a quick stop for blackberry pancakes and eggs, coffee, wifi, and a few snacks for the road. About an hour later, it was back to the trail. We had a 5000 foot climb (again), and we didn’t want to leave it for the heat of the day.
We were feeling strong! Feeling stoked! Feeling JACKED on coffee! We motored our way up that climb like it was nothing. Why can”t everyday be like this?! We are athletes to be hiking all day everyday…this is nuts!
July 20th – 30 miles
Today was a special day! It was OREGON day baby!! The Lorax and The Fox hopped out of their den this morning with excitement wonder. “We get to finish California today!”
Early in the morning, we passed Freedom, who was just tearing down her tent. “I’m sick,” she said. Oh dear. She asked us if we knew how hard the day was, since she forgot to mail herself the information for that section. “It’s about 2600 feet of elevation gain throughout the day,” Lorax responded. “Oh,” said Freedom, “That’s not bad at all.”
Not bad at all – to gain almost 3000 feet when one has the stomach flu and has to hike 25 miles. That girl has grit. Proof that thu-hikers are super-athletes…
The last morning of hiking in California consisted of a Forest walk, complete with clear cut and selective cut logging. Not the best way to say farewell California, but at least I know you have more glorious sections.
We reached the Oregon border at 3pm. OREGON! No frickin way! We have been in California so long…I never thought this day would come! We sat at the border for a bit, and contemplated all that we had seen and accomplished. Man it’s great to be out here!
July 21st – 17 miles
Just hike to Ashland…a mere 17 miles, and you can REST.
So hike we did…and rest we did.