Pics and Plans

“The more you celebrate your life, the more there is to celebrate.”
~Oprah Winfrey

After a brief rest I am off and running and hope to be back on the trail in Oregon the week of July 16th with a new strategy. My hope is that some of the snow has melted by then, that some of the PCT hikers will be hitting this section, and I won’t be the only hiker up there battling the big mounds of evil snow.

Looking back there were so many events while hiking this last section that just fell into place. I learned so many things from the land, plants, animals, and more importantly from the people who have touched my life. I feel confident and open for my next adventure.

My real photos are now on Flickr from the 240 mile section from Bucks Summit to Castella, CA:

Here are a few of my favs from this section:

Festival at the Feather River

Festival at the Feather River

Drakesbad

Drakesbad

View of Mount Shasta from the Hat Creek Rim

View of Mount Shasta from the Hat Creek Rim

Lush Forest

Lush Forest

Fisherman at Burney Falls

Fisherman at Burney Falls

Creek

Creek

Storm clearing over Mount Shasta

Storm clearing over Mount Shasta

View of Castle Crags

View of Castle Crags

Clear Cut with Remaining Dead Oak Trees

Clear Cut with Remaining Dead Oak Trees

Celebrating Finishing all 1661 Miles of California

Celebrating Finishing all 1661 Miles of California

June 30 – When to Turn Back

The phrase “do not be afraid” is written in the Bible 365 times. That’s a daily reminder from God to live every day being fearless.

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PCT Mile 1854 to mile 1858 plus unknown miles cross-country to Diamond Lake
Daily total = Unknown miles

I don’t even know where to begin. Giving up is not something I do often. But one thing this trail has taught me is to be aware and listen to my inner voice. Especially when the voice whispers, “Stop this, it is wrong and dangerous.”

I had a great night. After being on the trail for some time my body has a new rhythm and the every day nagging aches and pains are less bothersome. A natural sequence of daily routines has become automatic. It is at this point the thru-hiker emerges.

I knew I would be encountering solid snow early on because the route through the Mount Theilsen Wilderness travels up to 7400. My experience from yesterday led me to believe that solid snow started at 6900 feet. This is everywhere, not just on the typical north side of the mountains. The ranger at Crater Lake said they had a late winter and a very cool and rainy spring, hence the snow. He thought it might take another month for the snow to melt. My strategy was to go at least 25 miles in and see how it went.

As the morning continued, the trail was progressively harder to follow with no evidence of any one having passed before me. I soon was frustrated and simply picked the best route rather than to try following the trail.

I know this is not a new fact, but Oregon has A LOT of trees of all sizes and they are scattered everywhere. When it snows the small ones just kind of lay down ready to be unleashed at any moment. The little trees simply spring back into place. I now call them mouse traps. The hiker steps anywhere close to them and they spring to life, cutting and bruising the daylights out of the traveler. At least that is what happened to me.

After a few miles I was bleeding, one knee was hurting, and my wrist ached and I had not even fallen. After turning a corner and the distant view was clear, all I could see was snow under trees for miles, I knew I needed to turn back and find a way out.

Using Halfmile’s paper map combined with Topo Maps on my iPhone, I charted a cross-country route down to Diamond Lake plotting way points on my iPhone. This usually is a very bad idea in the back-country going off trail, so I hiked up the mountain for just enough service to text and let Wired and my husband know at what mile I was leaving the trail and where I was heading. I would not have left the trail if I was unable to notify someone of my intended route.

It took a few hours picking through downed trees to make it to highway 138. After road walking south for a couple of miles, I walked into the Mount Thielsen trail head parking lot. A group of hikers were there and I knew to ask for help. It turns out they had hiked in and had to turn around because of snow and were trying to decide what to do. They were very helpful and gave me a ride to Diamond Lake Resort. After looking at maps, I determined it was safest to come back to Southern Oregon in a few weeks.

The group offered to give me a ride back to the now stormy Crater Lake where I could get transportation to where I needed to go. I know I am so being watched over.

I weighed out all of my options: going south bound in Oregon from the Oregon-Washington border (I have always hiked northward), skip up to where there is no snow in Oregon (but I would be too early to hike Washington, they got a lot of snow), or go home to my super loving husband. Not a hard decision. So back I go home by trolley and train.

I am really bummed and bruised, but so very thankful for my safety, support of so many people, and for the opportunity to even be on the Pacific Crest Trail. It is early in the summer and what better opportunity to get in some climbs and visit my grandkids before hitting Oregon again.

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June 29 – Be Careful What You Wish For

Crater Lake Rim Oregon to South of Mount Thielsen (mile 1854)
Crater National Park and Mount Thielsen Wilderness
20 miles

Transportation to Crater Lake went off super smooth. I was feeling excited about sailing through Oregon. I have always heard it is easy miles because there are not large amounts of elevation gains and losses. Yep, I was feeling pretty snappy, until I beheld the 10 foot snow banks at Crater Lake. You see while hiking the PCT this season I often have missed the snow because there was so little in California.

I started out on the PCT which follows the rim of Crater Lake very closely. After about a mile I was forced down to the highway by cornices on the edge. Then it started to rain. Due to large snow banks, I decided to road walk, which worked well because the road often dips close to the rim with spectacular views of the sapphire giant. After a few miles I joined the equestrian PCT, that is when the mosquitoes came out in full force. Nothing a little Deet, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, and fashionable head-net won’t take care of. As the trail dropped below 6600 feet the snow disappeared. I am feeling a little anxious about the snow tomorrow as the trail will be at 7400 elevation.
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June 28 – Zero in Dunsmuir

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Tomorrow morning early I will be riding the Amtrak train from the Dunsmuir Train Station to Klamath Falls, then catching a trolley to Crater Lake. Last year I rode this same trolley from Crater Lake to Klamath Falls. It was fun and am looking forward to the experience again.

Dunsmuir is a great little town to visit. I especially loved the Cornerstone Bakery and Cafe. They feature healthy homemade scrumptious food and desserts. It is a must do while in Dunsmuir. Everyone was super friendly. I stayed at the Dunsmuir Inn and Suites, visited the library, post office, small market, and even did a little window shopping. Ready to hit the trail tomorrow.

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June 27 – Love and Generosity

20120628-100419.jpgI am spoiled rotten. Cross Cut, Recycle, and I had the good fortune to enjoy the very generous hospitality of Nathan, Mona, and Bruce in Mount Shasta City. We thankfully showered, did laundry, resupplied, ran errands, lavished in a soft cozy bed, and enjoyed healthy delicious homemade meals. But more importantly, the family opened and shared their hearts and home to 3 dirty PCT hikers. The appreciation of the small things in life, nature, family, and community is ever-present in their lifestyle.

Bruce even gave us a tour of the Shasta area that included a trip to the headwaters of the Sacramento River and the base of Mount Shasta. He is a wealth of information and has great enthusiasm for the land and its people.

In the evening we gathered at the Dunsmuir Brewery and Works in downtown Dunsmuir. The fish tacos were delicious and I highly recommend the restaurant.

I do have to admit I felt uncomfortable at first accepting in home Trail Angeling. Dan and I have always acted as the angels. Boy am I glad I let go and was open. Not only am I rested, energized, and clean, I have also been blessed by getting to know this very special family.

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June 25 – Dancing with Poison Oak

Grizzly Peak Road to Squaw Valley Creek (mile 1489.6)
23.9 miles

If you wait for the perfect conditions
you’ll never get anything done.
~Fitbie

I am cozy and dry in my tent, while rain pours outside. The best feeling ever. Today was a great day. I had energy, no pain, and life was good.

Bear scat every 1/4 mile from yesterday was traded with poison oak that lined the PCT for miles before and after McCloud Creek. It made for some sweet maneuvers.

This evening before the rain started Recycle and I met Cross Cut. He is a PCT hiker that worked for the forest service and is a Search and Rescue volunteer. He misses his wife and wants to get off the trail to be with her. It seems like every man I meet is missing a wife or girlfriend. Their eyes all have the same look of longing. It is so touching.

Tomorrow is a BIG day!!!!! When I cross the Interstate 5 freeway at Castella, I will have finished walking the entire 1662.1 miles of California, every step of the California Section of the PCT. This is really a BIG deal for me. California is one long state and it has taken a few weeks of the last 3 summers to make it happen. SO EXCITED.

I will be taking a couple zero days (no hiking days) after this accomplishment in Dunsmuir to wait for the first trolley into Crater Lake. I will be continuing my hike on June 29 heading 324.6 miles north from Crater Lake to the Oregon/Washington border.

The rain is subsiding and it is time to rest to hike the remaining 17 miles to the freeway tomorrow. Thank you for reading and cheering me on!

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June 24 – Tired

Deadman Creek to Grizzly Peak Road (mile 1465)
21.7 miles

“The best remedy for those that are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside.”
-Anne Frank

So I am really tired tonight. The last few miles were hard and I really don’t have excuses. Here is a summary of the day:
-weather cleared but was cool
– forest continued to be lush, but passed through quite a few logging areas
-lots of bear scat on the trail, at least one pile per 1/4 mile
-now in Shasta Trinity National Forest
-saw father and son PCT hikers
-Recycle sang 41 songs while walking behind me
-Mount Shasta was a constant companion
-my campsite has an awesome view
-did I say I was really tired
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June 23 – Rain

Burney Falls State Park to Deadman Creek (mile 1444)
20.5 miles

To strengthen the muscles of the heart the best exercise is lifting someone else’s spirit whenever you can.
~Dodinsky

Recycle has been good company. As I write this in my tent he is playing Amazing Grace on his small flute. Tonight I am yet again in an illegal camping spot. Just check out the pic below. Sign and all.

Last night I was greeted with rain on my tent. The weather today was wet off and on and very cool. The forest was lush and often covered the trail with wet green bushes of many varieties. Rain gear was a must just to pass through because the dew from the foliage transferred quickly to my whole body. Amazingly enough the forest in this area reminds me of coastal woodlands. How great is that? Happy day.

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June 22 – Beauteous Burney Falls

Most likely illegal camping at Fish Hatchery to Burney Falls State Park Campground
12 miles

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
~Louisa May Alcott

I find it ever amazing what hikers will be willing to do and put up with while on the trail, sometimes even on the edge of being illegal. Last night was spent in a day use area on private land at the Crystal Lake Hatchery. As I was packing up this morning fish hatchery workers were driving into work and waving. How funny is that? I was expecting a ticket, warning, or scolding at least. Nope just waves.

Tom aka Recycle (trail name) and I hiked 12 miles into Burney Falls State Park Campground and had a great 1/2 day drinking coffee, enjoying the falls, taking a needed shower, food resupply, and catching up on emails and phone calls. As I was picking up my resupply box I sent to myself, I heard Rockin’. There was Greg that I met in Drakesbad. He was waiting for a very special pie being sent Fed Ex from his girlfriend. How neat is that?

Oh and I should tell a little bit about Recycle’s new trail name. Tom is an avid environmentalist, loves nature and animals, is very educated on all kinds of preservation, and more importantly fights for what he feels passionate about. In fact at the PCT Kick Off he could be found gathering items for recycling and he has already located the bins at this park.

Burney Falls is a must do. It also is a perfect place for kids and is just plain gorgeous. The camp store has a large selection of all kinds of food and the visitors center features a great video on the geology and history of the park.

A little off topic, but many are reading the book Wild. I have not read it yet, but Recycle says that it sells not only because it is about a woman in the outdoors, but that it has drama, drugs, strife, and ignorance (or sex, drugs and rock n’ roll). So I am not all that and most likely am boring at times. For this reason I want to thank you all for following this passionate hiker that loves the land. Have a great night.

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June 21 – Hike Naked Day on the Hat Creek Rim

Subway Cave Campground to Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery
28 miles

Yep it was hike naked day on the summer solstice. So for all you hikers out there that partook of the opportunity congratulations!

Tom and I got a 4:45 am start hauling 4 liters of water to hike the infamous Hat Creek Rim. It is a dry waterless 28 mile section that takes the hiker high above Hat Creek following a plateau. The morning was cool and glorious. Much of the terrain had old burn, which gave way to a plethora of wildflowers. I enjoyed views of both Lassen Peak and Mount Shasta for a good part of the day.

The trail was often rocky with volcanic rock. Hard on the feet and easy to trip. This also is a cow area and I spent a good part of day dodging cow pies.

17 miles into the rim there was an amazing water cache. I chugged 2 liters of water before leaving the little piece of heaven. Thank you!!!

A strong breeze abated the often oppressive afternoon sun. This was a God sent for me. It was a very LONG day. Tomorrow I will be entering Burney Falls. This is an area I am excited to see. I am looking forward to hiking only 12 miles, sleeping in a bit (5:30), and having a plethora of water available. I drank 8 liters of water today! Oh and I am pretty sure the area we are camping at is a day use only at the fish hatchery. All is I know is there is water, a bathroom, garbage can, and a picnic table. What more could a girl ask for?

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June 20 – Networking

Clover Meadow to Subway Cave Campground
27 miles

I did a dumb thing today. I started the day out with a swift creek crossing on a log. It was early, I wasn’t quite with it yet and I was stiff. Halfway across I froze and panicked. Using deep breathing techniques that Silly always is reminding me of, I decided it was best to go down on my bottom and then scoot across. Not an easy maneuver with a loaded pack in the middle of a narrow log. Everything worked out in the end. I took a huge chance crossing without putting essential items in waterproof sacks. Lesson hopefully learned.

A really cool thing happened. Mary, who has commented on blog entries let me know that she was a trail angel for her friend Tom and that he was in the Drakesbad area hiking. I saw a hiker today and stopped and asked him if he was Tom and that I knew Mary. Boy did he look surprised! I hiked with him today and we will most likely hike tomorrow. Tom is hiking the PCT and is planning on hiking the Sierra section later in the summer. He is from Glendale, is energetic and very informative.

The terrain is mostly flat now and has left Lassen National Park. For some reason everything hurts
more when i hike on flat. Go figure?

Tomorrow’s hike entails a 30 mile stretch without water. Not good. It is called the Hat Creek Rim section. We are at a really nice campground and are planning an early start. Thank you Mary!

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June 19 – Company

Stover Spring to Corral Meadow (mile 1357) Lassen National Park
18 miles

Last night there was a party of sorts in my camp. Here is a list of just some of the goings on:

-repeated through the night a bugling noise followed by stomping of loud hooves.
-small scratching noises around my tent (my pole handles were chewed on)
-off and on scratching on my critter proof ursack hung in a tree
-oh and then my personal favorite, hikers came in very late, camped beside me ( I found out later they didn’t know I was there) and then smoked cigars
-a big bird bashed onto the top of my tent (at least I think it was a bird)

I thought for sure I was going crazy, someone was playing a joke, or I needed to go home!

Bad night, but great day! I hiked the 15 miles by lunch to get to Drakesbad Guest Ranch for resupply. At the ranch I ate lunch, had my laundry done, swam in their hot springs pool with loaner clothes, showered, and resupplied with the box I had sent to myself! I also met and spent the afternoon with the guys that came nto camp late and smoked cigars. Pockets, Franz, and Greg are really nice. They started early from the border of Mexico and are also the 2012 PCT leaders. So fun getting to know them. I am renewed, refreshed, and NOT looking for company tonight!

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June 18 – Gifts

Spring at mile 1319 to Stover Spring
20 miles

Today was significantly cooler. I lucked out with my late start and started out well rested. I also planned for a shorter mileage day. I was excited to experience the Midpoint Mileage Marker of the PCT. I sat for quite some time taking in the moment and reading the trail log. It is so fun to read entries from hikers I know or have heard of. What an accomplishment. There were 4 hikers that have made it already this year. Because of the low snow year for California, many hikers could hike the Sierras in May!

While eating lunch at Soldier Creek and drinking Starbucks Via coffee I had a fun surprise. A small Boy Scout Troop came through and leader shouted, “You must be Rockin’, I have some gorp for you from Swami.” Yaaaaaay. It was homemade from a trail angel Swami was passing back to me. Well that made my day.

I am camped at a large camping area at Stover Spring that has A LOT of birds. A couple have been trying to peek in my tent as I am typing this on my iPhone. Tomorrow I am resupplying at Drakesbad in Lassen National Park. They have services for PCT hikers (shower, laundry, and food). I read that to stay at the ranch, reservations need to be made a year in advance. I can’t wait.20120619-060832.jpg20120619-060858.jpg20120619-060910.jpg20120619-060916.jpg20120619-060851.jpg20120619-061032.jpg

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