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PCT 2018 Days 105-118

Day 105

Miles: 17.6

Health: No drama

Currently reading: Bossypants

I slept so well in that church gym. It was dark and cool and quiet. Once we did get up, we tried hitching but to no avail. We ended up getting a ride with someone who goes to the church.

Once back at the trail we had a short seven miles to Burney Falls State Park, a small detour that involved an impressive waterfall. We stopped by the falls, and yes, they were absolutely gorgeous. This is a must see on the trail. There was also a general store for which I got gatoraid, cream soda, nachos, and ice cream. We sat and enjoyed lunch.

It was hot and sticky today but at least we were mostly in the trees. The smoke from the wildfires around us made the air thick and the views hazy. We ended the day with an uphill but it was alright. I felt pretty good today, actually. Our initial camping spot turned out to have no spots so we pressed on and found some spaces right next to the trail. We had dinner in our tents this evening to avoid the mozzies.

Day 106

Miles: 21ish

Health: My right foot has had a bad day.

Currently reading: Kisses from Katie

I set my alarm for 5am this morning. I wanted to get an early start in the cool. I accidentally got a daddy long legs in my tent when I brought in my food bag for breakfast. I quickly smashed the devil’s minion with said food bag and then had a twitching, juicy spider squished against the canvas. Why am I doing this hike again?

I felt great this morning and had a lot of energy. We pumped out eight miles by 9:30 just when the sun started to heat up the world.

Today’s hike was fairly uneventful although I did take a bad fall and hit two of my toes badly. I was afraid I had broken them or at least ruined my toenails, but they turned out to be alright. I also have a new blister forming on the ball of my foot. Yippy.

We saw a few dear today including one that followed Hen and watched her use the bathroom. Deer love to lick up your pee once you’re finished, appetising, I know.

The smoke is pretty intense here although we aren’t especially close to any fires. You can’t even see Mt. Shasta even with being about 50 miles from it.

Day 107

Miles: 23

Health: Low energy but ok

Currently reading: Kisses from Katie

I didn’t sleep well last night as there was a deer and a few hikers trampling around the campsite for much of the night. The deer ate a chick’s bandana.

I had lowing energy for much of the day but especially in the morning. The morning are at least cool and we made good miles. All in all we did 23 by 5:00 and that was with some very long breaks.

Speaking of deer, I have a deer and poop story. Only the best. So, I’m gonna get real with you, pooping on trail is an event. It is a major topic of conversation between hikers and a good poo will absolutely make your day. I have had zero trouble pooing on trail but it always seems to hit me at the absolute worst times, like on a ridge or in a savannah. This afternoon I felt it coming quickly so I pulled off as soon as I found a campsite on an otherwise steep area. The trouble was, there were already two doe’s nomming on something at the campsite. I spoke gently to them and told them I was just gonna dump and dash, no need to vacate. If you don’t know, deer are nasty and love to eat poo and drink pee. Much like your own dog, probably. I squatted down and did my business and as I got up to finish I saw four deer eyes staring me down and licking their chops. It was as if they were saying, “Oh look Susan, it’s fresh! Straight out the ass!” I quickly buried my mess and moved on, I have no doubt it didn’t stay there long.

Hungry yet? I have now had seven people, seven horses, and three deer doing my business. It’s starting to feel more comfortable that way.

We camped way, way down at 2100ft which is super hot. The campsites were pretty crappy so I’m not hopeful that I’ll get a good nights sleep. Also, there’s a rogue deer here too.

Day 108

Miles: 23.5

Health: Swell

Currently reading: Kisses from Katie

The morning started out a bit traumatic as I had to deal with an enormous daddy long legs. He was sitting on my bladder at first and the decided to walk up my tent. I had to think fast as to how to terminate him, so naturally, I stabbed him with my trekking pole. Mission accomplished. If you find this story boring you may as well stop reading because I will always, always recount my tales of my assassinations of these fell beasts from the seventh level of hell. It’s a victory for me each time and I shall keep records of my accomplishments.

We had a slot of up hill to do today but thankfully, since we’re in the forest now, it wasn’t that bad. I also think I have drastically improved on my uphills.

Lots of people saw bears today, we did not. We saw a man with two dogs and the dogs weren’t even friendly. Biggest disappointment yet on trail.

One of our stops was to Squaw Valley Creek, which was an utterly idyllic place to rest. We sat in the shade as the cool, clear water rushed by and the sounds of birds and breezes could be heard.

We got into camp around 5pm and I had the nastiest taco rice to ever taco rice. Small dinner for me tonight, I guess.

Day 109

Miles: 5 into Mt Shasta

Health: All was well

Currently reading: Kisses From Katie

We “slept in” as much as the sun and birds would allow us. We were still out of camp by about 7am.

We had a short five mile walk down hill to get to the road near The town of Mt Shasta where we were to be picked up by a trail angel.

The walk down was lovely! I LOVE that we’re finally in the forest, hopefully for a long time. It’s so peaceful and cool and magical.

We also passed by the 1500 mile mark!

Once we got picked up and taken into town we did laundry and showered and then went and got Taco Bell. It was an awful Taco Bell experience but at least I got my food. Then we resupplied and had amazing Indian food for dinner.

Day 110

Miles: 18.7

Health: Tired AF

Currently reading: Nothing today

Sleep last night was glorious. Let me shout it from the rooftops: I LOVE BEDS! After coming down from the high that was sleeping in a queen all by myself, we went and got breakfast at the original Black Bear Diner. It was incredible. Tied for first for the best breakfast on trail.

Next, Kick has to go sort out some package drama at the post office and Hen and I went back to the hotel. Once we were all packed and ready to go we got a ride back to the trail from Tony. He’d already been to the trailhead twice that morning. What a generous guy. He told us about how Shasta has the cleanest water in the country and that it takes the water something like 50 years to make it down the glaciers, ground, and rock before coming to the town. You can just straight up drink the water that comes out of a rock nearby.

We still couldn’t see Mt Shasta because of the smoke. I don’t think it really exists. Apparently there are people in the town that believe that seven-foot-tall, blonde beings have cities inside the mountain. People are cray.

We didn’t get started hiking until close to 10:30 which sucked because we wanted to do a 20 mile day. Today was hot, the smoke was thick, and we were moving kinda slowly.

We made it to a campsite at 8:30pm which is SUPER late for us, we usually camp at around 5:00pm. I was cranky and hungry and cold. I am in my tent now and slightly less cranky, hungry, and cold.

Day 111

Miles: 26

Health: Toenails. My toenails will never be the same.

Currently reading: Cujo

This was our longest day yet! Twenty-six miles and boy do I feel it!

We left at 6:00am and busted out nine miles by 10:00am which isn’t super impressive but there were some steep sections, ok! In general the terrain was on the easier side today, I just wasn’t feeling it. I was super quiet all day.

The smoke was very thick and the smell was pretty strong in areas. I think this section would have really pretty views, but alas, we can’t see them.

There were also so many chipmunks running around today! Big ones, little ones, long tails, no tails, you name it. They may cause terror tonight at camp, though.

By the end of the day we were all hobbling into camp. We’ve got another 26 miler tomorrow which looks to be worse than today, so hopefully we all hold up.

Day 112

Miles: 25

Health: Healthy as a horse. One that’s healthy, I presume.

Currently reading: Cujo

Today was a bit clearer from the smoke and we were greeted by a gorgeous sunrise. Since we’re back at higher elevation the morning was hella cold and I did not enjoy that. I’ve been spoiled the last two weeks or so.

In general, today was pretty chill and not much happened. We did run into our friend Redback who was feeling quite ill. I wish there was more we could have done to help her but she thought if she just chilled out for the day maybe she’d feel better tomorrow. She is a very experienced hiker and one tough cookie so I think she’ll be fine.

We are hiking through cow country and could hear cowbells for most of the day. It made me want to run to the meadows and sing “The Hills are Alive” for some reason.

About a mile before camp I walked past a big herd of cows and thought I could have a magical moment with my animal friends. I started to whistle at them and the entire group looked up at me. This is it! We’re about to have a moment.

Nope. The entire herd turned and ran from me in the opposite direction. They ran so hard that Hen, who was a bit ahead of me, heard them and thought something must have really spooked them. IT WAS JUST ME.

I’ve now scared a rattlesnake from a bush, a bear from a tree, a swarm of bees from camp, and now a herd of cattle from their meadow. I’m a monster.

It gets worse. While eating dinner, two enormous spiders fell from the tree above us and landed on Hen’s tyvek. A rock was quickly thrown on top of them (for which I named Sting), but I feel like the nightmares will come regardless. Can it be tomorrow yet?

Day 113

Miles: 23.5

Health: Loverly

Currently reading: Cujo

My morning began by coming to the realisation that Samwise Gamgee did not in fact destroy Shelob completely because, here she was, climbing up my tent. The monstrous spider gave me a minor heart attack and was quickly flicked off my tent to go and terrorise someone else. I hate spider country.

I was nauseous for much of the day and although I pushed on, I felt like utter crap. Today’s trail was needlessly steep and had so many useless ups and downs. We are also apparently experiencing a cold front so I am freezing again. Some days I really feel like I’m going to miss the trail. Today is not one of those days.

I’m also hungry all the freaking time. Since we’ve bumped up the miles I think I need to bump up the food intake. Side note, vegan jerky is the bomb! I want it all!

We camped by a lake which means it will be doubly cold. Kick is getting an earlier start than Hen and I because he needs to get to town before the post office closes. We’re planning to just eat and resupply in Etna and the. Get back on trail by the afternoon. I can’t wait for town food!!

Day 114

Miles: 13.2

Health: New blister, who dis?

Currently reading: Cujo

I didn’t sleep well again last night. I was up for 3-4 hours in the middle of the night and decided to listen to my book. Now, ever twig that breaks is no longer an innocent chipmunk but a rabid Saint Bernard the size of a horse. Thank you, Stephen King.

The hike to the road to take us into Etna wasn’t to bad. Uphills aren’t as atrocious as they used to be and at least my food bag was empty. Once I got to the road I saw a family of quail and a family of deer. Very Bambi.

We waited about 30 minutes for a car to drive by and once it did, we were offered a ride to town by a super nice guy named Paul. He had done a section of the trail last year so he knew our plight. Upon driving into town we saw Kick with his precious box and went to join him and his new shoes. We got breakfast at Wildwood Coffee House and raided the best hiker box since Warner Springs. I got a huge chunk of my resupply there which was great because the two grocery store options were very limited.

We walked through the tiniest farmers market and I got a cream soda. Coppertone has ruined me with the cream sodas. It’s all I want. We then got lunch at Paystreak, and I got the sun tacos which made this entire hike worth while. It will be my mission to recreate those once I’m home.

Hitching out took a while but we finally got a hitch from a super nice lady who hated all things Texas. I didn’t bother mentioning to her that I live in Houston.

We hiked about 7 miles and made camp. All of our bags are super heavy because we have about 5.5 days of food in our packs. We passed the 1600 mile marker which means writhing 50 miles we will have less than 1000 to go!

Day 115

Miles: 23ish

Health: All well

Currently reading: Cujo

Whoever designed the trail at he end of Northern California must hate hikers with a brutal passion. I think this is why NorCal gets such a bad reputation on the PCT, because it ends on such a crappy note. The trail is unnecessarily steep and difficult while the weather is hot and sticky. Although, we’re in the middle of a cold front so I’m, naturally, freezing my ass off.

Kick was having a bad day so I decided that a little cheer would hopefully lift his spirits. I’m not sure if it was the obnoxious yelling of SPIRIT KICK as he came into break or just the sight of two friends making fools of themselves, but we got a smile off him.

There are lots of deer around which keeps me happy. I’ll never find them annoying or uninteresting, although I have learned how stupid they really are.

We camped by a lake and got to eat dinner as the sun went down and we all froze.

Day 116

Miles: 27

Health: Blisters. Need new shoes.

Currently reading: Cujo (will I ever finish this book?)

Today was my favorite day yet on trail! It started off with a bang and within the first twenty minutes of hiking I saw a bear! He was running across the trail at the top of the hill I was climbing. Unfortunately, Mother Hen, who was in front of me and closer to the bear, was looking down at the time and totally missed it. So now I’ve seen two bears! I had literally just five minutes before been praying and asking the Lord to let me see another bear if that was His will. Well, I guess he let me have that one!

The trail itself was much easier today. Mostly downhill and headed nicely. We went down about 4500ft today into Seiad Valley.

I also saw a lot of deer today including a stag and two does walking on the trail reminiscent of Hen and I. I also saw a newt by a stream crossing.

We also got to eat wild blackberries and huckleberries that were growing along the trail.

The day ended with a 6.5 mile road walk which I kinda enjoyed actually. At one point a huge bird flew over us and I thought, “Oh, wow! What a big – OH MY GOSH THAT’S A BALD EAGLE!!!” I’ve never seen one in the wild before and I literally lost my crap. How friggin exciting!

We are camped at the RV park and got to take showers and eat some store food. I called my Mum and I caught a frog. Today has been amazing.

Day 117

Miles: 21ish

Health: Sore but swell

Currently reading: Cujo

Well, it was not the least bit warm at 1,300ft. I was cold and kept being woken up by tracker trailer trucks. Once we were all up we went to the only cafe in town for breakfast. The cafe is known for its “Pancake Challenge.” The Challenge is to eat five of their enormous pancakes in under two hours. Only four people have been successful in the last ten years. We did not partake.

The climb out of Seiad was brutal and nasty. Eight miles uphill, exposed, and mostly waterless.

Once at the top we just went to a nearby creek and camped for the night. Today was a bit boring, honestly.

Day 118

Miles: 32

Health: Sore feet, happy heart.

Currently reading: Crazy Love

Whoa. Today was a day! Today shall be remembered as an epic day on trail.

We got up and left camp at the usual 6am. We took a couple of water breaks as we inches closer to the end of California.

During the last stretch of California a couple of things happened. First, I got bit by the most painful bug of my life. I have no idea what it was but it seriously brought me to my knees. Stupid bugger. A few minutes later I ran into three cows and a calf nursing right next to the trail. They all look unbothered and unimpressed by me, but hey, none of them ran away!

Finally, in the very last mile of Cali I was walking solo in a field and I looked up to a doe and her fawn crossing the trail. I had yet to see a fawn, so I was so giddy and giggly. It was like Christmas. It was like California wanted to send me out on a high note.

Getting to the border was surreal. California is so long (1700 miles) and I never really pictured much of the PCT beyond that because I just wasn’t sure I’d make it this far. The border is marked by a tiny sign on a tree and a log book. I signed my trail name along with, “Well, that was easy.” We also met some Sobos who were just entering their final state. Good luck to them. We danced and took photos and rested.

The next landmark was reaching 1700 miles about four miles later. The miles seem to be flying now. We made it 32 miles (our first over 30 day!) and are camped in a shelter tonight.

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