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.

20120630-205048.jpg

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.

20120702-090847.jpg

20120702-090853.jpg

20120702-090859.jpg

20120702-090908.jpg

20120702-090916.jpg

20120702-090922.jpg

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.
20120630-204303.jpg20120630-204322.jpg20120630-204330.jpg20120630-204339.jpg20120630-204349.jpg

June 28 – Zero in Dunsmuir

20120628-165347.jpg

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.

20120628-165403.jpg

20120628-165410.jpg

20120628-165416.jpg

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.

20120628-100431.jpg

20120628-100455.jpg

20120628-100505.jpg

20120628-100515.jpg

20120628-100732.jpg