Thursday, July 31, 2014

Day 111 - Wrangle Gap to Ashland

After finishing our hike early yesterday, we wanted to get to Ashland as soon as we can. So we got up at 5:00. It was still a bit dark, and chilly. But it wasn't that bad.
We still had about 23 miles to do today, but we decided we will hike fast until we are done, so we didn't make any long stops.
We passed some of the people that passed us by last night. Our first short break was at a small spring, right by where Lighthouse and Mung were camping last night. They were just heading out for their day.
Later on, I finally got cell signal, and checked again the camera I ordered yesterday. I was a complete idiot, and ended up ordering a camera with standard delivery, which meant it will get to Ashland after I'd leave it. I sent a request to cancel the order. Luckily it was still being processed, and hadn't shipped yet.
Hiking on, I caught up to Idan, Lighthouse, Mung and Tortuga at a very nice trail magic - two coolers full of cokes and sprites. That was very nice.
Further on, at another short stop, I got a confirmation email about my canceled order. Now I just had to place a new one, this time with a 1 day delivery. I did that at the next stop. Now the camera will get to Ashland on time.
The trail just went on and on, the day became hotter and hotter, and we could already see and hear the interstate. After a lot of down hill, with some crazy senseless climbs thrown in the middle, we finally got to highway 99, which parallels the interstate. We hiked down the road (there were almost no cars on it), and reached the ramp up to the interstate, heading to Ashland.
It seemed like we'd be stuck there forever. It was very hot at 14:00, and not a lot of cars were coming around. At the end, it didn't take that long for us to get a ride down to town. Just plain luck.
We got off near the post office, and got our packages there. We then waited for a bus to the motels area, while drinking nice milkshakes.
After we finally got to the Super 8 motel, we had to argue with the guy at the reception - we booked a room with a queen bed and a twin bed, from, for $75. But according to the guy at the front desk, they don't have such rooms, and this price is for a single queen bed room. He insisted we should talk to to clear this up. I called the number he gave me, and their representative did acknowledge that their site lists two beds in the room. At first, she tried to convince me they can find a similar room at a similar price, in the area. But I told here it's their site's fault, and that we expect to get a two bed room, for the price we agreed upon with their site. She finally agreed we pay the difference for the bigger room, email them the receipt, and they will reimburse us for the difference. Phew. That's a relief.
I didn't do much for the rest of the day. Shower, laundry. Idan was running around, cleaning his quilt and backpack. I'll do it on another day.
In the evening, we talked with Roi and Sarah about meeting them for dinner. The laundry wasn't ready early enough, so we left late, and missed the bus down town. After talking with Lighthouse, we almost gave up on getting to town, but at the end he drove into town with a friend of his, and they have us a ride there and back. So that turned out nicely.
We had a bit of trouble finding where Roi and Sarah were waiting for us. But we got there at the end, and I are another veggie burger. It was home made, but small and pricey. It was still s very nice evening.
Forest fire from yesterday's storm
Just a typical trail in the woods
Great trail magic just before Ashland

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Day 110 - Tin Cup Trail to Wrangle Gap

I think last night was the first time I slept with the tent's vestibule cover open, at least up in the mountains. It was fun waking up during the night, and see the stars.
In the morning, we got up just as Frank was leaving. Bunion came along shortly after, and passed us. The spring 2 miles further up the trail was nothing more than a trickle, and we headed on to the next water source, which was 8 miles north. There was some spring on the way, but it was on a 1 mile side trail. I can't imagine anyone actually going there.
According to the map, there were few other springs on the way. We thought we were near one, but couldn't find it. Hiking on 2 more minutes, we came upon Fire Cracker, Tidy Camper, Princess and Sandals near the side trail to that spring we were looking for. But we were already not that far from Mud Spring, so we decided to press on.
We finally got to the road to "our" spring, and nearly missed it, because Bunion just set there close to the road, and told us there is still a while to go before the spring. After walking for a few minutes, I checked the map and realized I had just crossed the road to it. I dropped my pack, and headed back in time to catch Idan by the road. The spring was a short walk off trail, and it wasn't flowing too well anyway. Bummer.
2 miles on, we were getting close to Bearground Spring, when a side trail lead to some other spring. I got to know Lighthouse, who tried the Seiad Valley Cafe Pancake Challenge yesterday, and didn't make it, and Mung. We didn't go in, and hike just a bit further until we got to Bearground Spring, along with Fire Cracker and Tidy Camper. It was very nice hiking with them for a short while, and chatting with them while filling out water.
From there, it was just a long 4+ miles to reach the Oregon/California border. The end was all up hill, but we finally got there and I ate some snacks. We met Lighthouse and Mung again. He plans on hiking through Oregon doing 40 miles per day. Crazy. And she flies over to study in China at the end of August, so she hasn't decided yet if she'd keep on hiking into Oregon, or her off trail in Ashland.
The trail into Oregon was more uphill, and the first springs weren't very good. We started hearing distant thunders, and the skies turned gray. We wanted to hike several miles after some seasonal spring, but we made a stop at Sheep Camp Spring, which was one of the best springs we've seen on the trail, really flowing well.
We stayed there for a while, waiting for the thunders to move away. There was good cell signal there, so i finally ordered a new camera for me, that will arrive to Ashland on two days. Just when we were leaving, Thor, Fern Toe, Lighthouse and Mung came along, and showed us some distant smoke, indicating a fire started by a lightning strike. It was far away, but it still seemed scary.
We hiked out, to do about 4 more miles. It was still early, so we could of done even more. But after about 30 minutes the rain really started. And instead of waiting it out under some trees, we headed on, looking for somewhere to stop. Big mistake.
The rain kept getting stronger, and pretty soon we were drenched. We got to a dirt road, and started putting up our tents. The ground was hard, and Idan just tried hiding with his tent draped around him. I managed to set up mine, but got completely soaked. I threw all my stuff into my tent, and convinced Idan to come on in while the rain lasted. It stopped raining several minutes afterwards.
After a while, we got Idan's tent up as well, and it got fairly dry. Most of our stuff remained dry, except for our hiking clothes and our backpacks. But by now they are only somewhat moist.
Everyone else has passed us. They waited under trees, and hiked out after the rain was over. But we will still get into town tomorrow, so no worries.
Right now I am laying in my hot tent, under direct sunlight. But we still hear thunders all the time, and there are plenty of rain clouds in the sky. I wouldn't be surprised if it rains some more during the night. But inside our tents we will remain dry.
Some rusty colored flowers
Finally reaching the Oregon/California state line

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Day 109 - Seiad Valley to Tin Cup Trail

People started getting up and moving out at 3:30. I know it's a long climb, and a hot day, but I still don't get it. We slept in until just before 7:00. It felt good.
We started our laundry (last night we were too tired to do it), packed our gear, and went over to the cafe for breakfast.
Luckily, the cafe was next door, because we needed to keep checking back on the laundry, and later put in a quarter in the drier, and wait until it has finished the cycle, before putting in another one. It was a pain.
It took a while until we got our breakfast, but once we did, it was very filling. I didn't finish my plate of veggie omelet.
After we had finished eating, we finished packing the rest of our stuff, I put some Gatorade in my bottle, and we headed out.
I finally mustered the courage to tell Idan I want to hike on from Ashland alone, and break up our team. At first he took it just by saying "OK", and I wasn't sure what to expect next. After we finished the short road walk, he finally asked me why, and I explained I wanted to be free of responsibilities to anyone else, and to feel how it was to hike alone, like I did on the AT all those years ago. I assured him it's not anything that he had done.
The climb was steep and hot, as expected. I made several sorry stops on the way, before finally reaching (and almost missing) Lookout Spring. There were a couple of Sunkist cans in the spring, thanks to Siesta and Bomber. Thanks!
From there, most of the steep climb was behind us. There was plenty of ups and downs along the ridge, though.
Our next so was at Kangaroo Spring. We filled our water just before the actual spring, at a good spot, and had some snacks.
From there it was an easy trail to our daily destination. We got to Cook & Green Pass Spring and found a bunch of hikers resting the heat out in the shade. We met Thor The Hiking Viking and Fern Toe. We haven't seen them since before Lake Isabella
We went to refill our bottles at the trickle, and decided to push on for 6 more miles, since it was way too early, at 15:30.
We figured most hikers getting out of that shady spot will try to reach the same destination as us, so we made a run for it to try and get there earlier, for better chances at finding a camp spot. We did end up passing everyone we have seen leaving the previous spring before we did. But it didn't help us - the small, slanted, campsite just by the spring was already taken by 5 other hikers. We filled our water and hiked BACK for 0.25 miles, to get to a campsite we've seen just before.
3 couples passed us here, going on further today. We've had enough, with 20 miles of hiking, and a total of 7300 feet climb.
Frank ended up staying here, and we've had a very nice conversation during dinner.
I still wasn't sure how things will be between Idan and me now, but I'm happy they seem quite normal. We still joke the same way during stops, and have had some normal conversations while hiking.
The famous pancake challenge is being made. 3 are ready, 2 more are being made.
View back on Seiad Valley

Monday, July 28, 2014

Day 108 - Marble Valley Cabin to Seiad Valley

We got up early to hike the long miles to Seiad Valley and get there before the store closes.
We thought we'd have a 30 miles day, but after checking again we were surprised to discover it'll be 32 miles almost. With a 6 mile road walk at the end. At least it will be an easy walk.
We made snack stops every several miles, leap frogging with Rim Shot and Kit for a while. They were planning to stop at the campground before the road walk.
After some climbs at the beginning of the day, the rest of the hike was downhill. We stopped at a very nice creek with cold water, and met a father and soon section hiking. The father was 70 years old. It was very impressive seeing them hike.
From there, we started hiking down Gridler creek. The trail crossed it four times, on wooden bridges, until it reaches the campground at the end. We thought this section will be a bit harder, but it turned out quite nice and easy, and we made good time, reaching the campground at 17:00.
We still had 6 more miles of boring road walk, but at least we saw a sign that informed us the store would be open until 20:00. So we'll make it.
The road walk was uneventful, and finally we reached Seiad Valley RV park at around 19:30. We started by drinking some cold ice tea (Idan had two cans), and then went to the RV park office and paid for camping, showers and laundry.
There are a ton of new hikers around, and we don't know almost anyone. We have finally caught up to Halfmile, though, and unlike the previous two times, we are not just taking a zero and getting behind him again!
We also met Frank, which we last saw the day we got to Paradise Valley Cafe, just before Idlewild. That's a long long time ago.
The showers were the worst on the trail. Maybe similar to the ones at Kennedy Meadows. But the water were hot, and there was soap and shampoo. So it worked.
At the store, I felt hungry and bought a can of refried beans. I looked to see it doesn't contain any meat products inside. I wanted to share the can with Idan, after we easy our normal Knorr meals. After we cooked, and I opened the can, I checked again the ingredients - it contained lard, and I missed it before. We just threw it in the garbage. I was too full anyway...
Most hikers are cowboy camping on the lawn here, but we tent, as always. There are plenty of mosquitoes around. Besides, we don't plan on leaving too early tomorrow, so we can take our time in the morning to take the tents down.
Seiad Valley. That's low.
Even on a federal building - "The State of Jefferson"
Dusk from my tent
Hiker trash on the RV park lawn

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Day 107 - Etna to Marble Valley Cabin

After a hot night on the Hiker's Hut lawn, I finally woke up at around 7:30. It was fun.
Talking with James, I found out that he got back last night after being to the brewery/pub, then going to the rodeo, and then to another pub. He got to sleep at 1:00. Others - even later. I was just happy I didn't go out at all.
I quickly gathered my gear, and ate a standard trail breakfast of two oatmeal packets. At least I had a banana and a tangerine to add to it. We sat on the road, hoping to get a hitch up to the trail, when Papa Bear's friend from last year picked him up, and stuffed us in the back seat. It was weird at first, when he seemed to be reading out loud from an eBook on his iPhone, while driving. But after a minute he stopped the reading bit, and got us safely to the trail.
Back up, we already saw 4 hikers waiting for a ride down. I hope they got it by now. We started our walk at around 9:30. It was overcast and nice, and the climbs weren't that bad or long, mostly.
We passed a southbounder section hiker at a creek at midday and she told us that our designated campsite was very nice.
We had some climbing from that spot, and it was no longer overcast, so we were back at the heat. But we've had hotter days recently, so today didn't feel especially hot.
It was supposed to be only about 8 miles from our rest stop just after the stream, but it took us about 4 hours to finally reach the campsite. We suspect the actual trail was different than the one in the app and maps. So we probably did closer to 27 miles today, as opposed to the 25 according to the app.
We got to the campsite after 19:00, tired and hungry. We saw Oklahoma and Rimshot and Kit near the locked cabin, but we headed down to the designated campsite. It's flatter here, and the water is nearby. Some dear are hanging around close to us. I hope they won't bother during the night.
A nice glacial lake

Hills, hills and more hills

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Day 106 - Campsite near wa1601b to Etna

Yes, a short day indeed. We woke up and powered onto the road, getting there by 8:30.
We met Rimshot and Kit there, trying to hitch for an hour already. Only one car passed by, while Bob, Chop Chop and Prospector, James and finally Neon came by. We were hoping for a miracle.
Finally a truck came and dropped a couple of hikers at the trail head going north, and then backed down the road and took us all. We were 6 in the back of the pick up, and 3 inside. But we got into town.
Down here, we went over to the Hiker Hut. They have a small 4-bed bunk room, but I just tented outside. We got a shower and did our laundry.
For breakfast we had a breakfast croissant at the cafe. For lunch we had a pizza with James at the deli, and later had dinner at Doti's. 3 meals in town. Success.
During dinner, a 2013 thru hiker came and talked to us. I don't remember his name. He now lives in Mt Shasta, and he came over to hike for several days with Papa Bear, who apparently also did the trail last year.
There are a ton of hikers on town, some zeroing here from yesterday, more coming in after we did. Many stay here on the lawn, and many others stay in the local park.
The Warrior Hike hikers are in town, currently having some special dinner at the brewery pub, but we are too tired and hot to go down there. I think that at 19:00, it's way past my bed time.
Cheesy, the sweet and relaxed cat of the Hiker's Hut

Friday, July 25, 2014

Day 105 - Campsite near wa1577 to campsite near wa1601b

This night was a bit chilly again, but nothing too bad. At least we didn't wake up in tents covered in condensation.
The trail kept going up and down ridge lines, and we got some more views of Mt Shasta again. We passed some good water sources with cool tasty water.
After crossing highway 93 we stated our climbing section of the day. But at least there were even more water sources in this section.
We passed Gas Pedal and Fire Starter, two very nice brothers we have seen only once before, and Papa Bear. He was going to go all the way into Etna today, while the brothers were asking at the same campsite as us - the last water source 5 miles before the road into Etna.
We had a nice long break with them near a spring 10 miles before the end of the day, and then headed out to finish it. There water some long and annoying climbs there, but at the end we got here really early, at 17:30. Not bad for a 25 miles day.
We waited for a long time before dinner, so we won't eat too early. The brothers got here eventually, and another hiker. Papa Bear kept on hiking to town, and Banjo also passed by heading over there.
Tomorrow we will have our easy hike into town in the morning. It will be a bit harder than the hike into Mt Shasta, since this time it will include a 900 feet climb. But we will do it in 2 hours tops.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Day 104 - Chilcoot Creek to campsite near wa1577

After a surprisingly chilly night (I slept in my base layer and wore my fleece hat), I woke up late at 6:50. That was fun.
Our tents were wet on the inside, because of the humidity in the air, and in our breath. I carefully took out everything from my tent, careful not to touch the walls, and proceeded to wipe them dry with my camp towel. It's the only use I've found for it so far.
The water at Chilcoot Creek didn't look too good. It was mostly shallow pools of water, with no flow. Luckily, a few miles down the trail we encountered a nice spring with much better water, so I replaced what I had inside my water bag happily.
There were plenty of water sources along the way today, even though some of them were nothing more than a trickle.
We kept leap frogging Chop Chop and Prospector during the day. They were heading to the same destination as us, so we made a special effort to get here first, and pick the best camp site.
At noon we passed highway 3. Apparently, there was some trail magic here, as well as a cooler brought especially for the Warrior Hike guys. They have already been through here, so the cooler was open for everyone. There was nothing much in there, though. Idan score a Mountain House dinner, but the rest was just garbage and empty cans, and some medical supplies. Nothing useful.
From the road, we hiked the remaining 10 miles up the ridge, and along some very nice views. We even got another view of Mt Shasta to the south.
When we arrived at the seasonal stream we were aiming at, the water were not too good. We managed to get a bit for now, but we hope the close by stream we'll pass tomorrow morning will have a better flow.
Nice views

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Day 103 - campsite near pct mile 1521 to Chilcoot Creek

Yet another long day.
After a not-long-enough night's sleep, we got up inside a cloud. There was fog all around us, and we could not see any views.
After about an hour of hiking things cleared up. We were hiking up along a ridge towards the Trinity Devide. I'm not sure what it was, but we passed it today.
The views were nice, with some lakes and ponds we saw from the top. We didn't have a lot of climbing up or down, and just kept walking an easy trail, counting the miles.
After the last stop, we had a heated argument about the next two days. I want to do two reasonable days of 25 miles each, to leave an easy 5 mile day into Etna, at the end. Idan wants to do two 27 mile days, to reach the road to Etna on the evening of the second day, so we'll only have to catch a ride in the morning of the third.
The argument morphed into how many compromises we both do on the trail, in order to keep hiking together. Idan said he compromises on principal matters to him, just to keep hiking with me. I said I will not compromise on principal matters. That is why they are principal to me. I suggested that maybe we should stop our compromises, and just hike our own hike. Even if it means we'd split up.
When we reached Chilcoot Creek we met Chop Chop and Prospector, who already set up camp there. A bit later James came in. He plans on getting to Etna on Saturday as well, like us. But he will get there much later in the day, so he'll miss the post office hours. I told him he can call them, and tell them I will pick up his package for him. That way he can take his time getting into town.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Day 102 - Mt Shasta to campsite near pct mile 1521

The plan was to leave town late. Idan ordered some socks yesterday, with 1 day shipping, so we took our time until they arrived.
We mailed some stuff to Ashland, and I also mailed my broken camera to a lab to get fixed. I hope it won't take too long. It's been broken since leaving Chester.
For lunch, I had some fries, a salad and a smoothie in Burger King. It was all right.
I went over to Atara's store, to ask if I can print out the form I needed to send along with my camera, to the lab. Atara was glad to help me with the printing.
I asked where would be the best place to hitch back to the trail from, and Laurie, who was just at Atara's store, immediately offered to take us back to the trail herself. We still has some town chores to do, so I got her number, and told her we'd give her a call in about two hours.
Finishing what we had to do in town, we were looking for Beer to offer him a ride to the trail with us. We couldn't find him, so we ended up going back to Atara's store, and waiting for Laurie there. She came a bit later with her husband and daughter, and they all drove us down to the trail head. They also gave us some awesome home-made cookies.
Back at the trail head, we met Beer, who got here by himself, Hop Scotch and Glimmer.
We started hiking on at about 15:30. The trail going north of the interstate was a bit confusing, until we realized we should hike along the dirt road to the left. The hike itself was mostly climbing up hill, and we kept leap frogging a pair of female hikers, who were going to the campsite 10 miles from the road. We were aiming at a water source 4 miles further.
We knew we'd get into the dark, after starting our hike so late. We got to the side trail to the water source right before sunset, so I took my head lamp with me when I went down to fill up water.
I thought there was a reasonable campsite just by the water itself, but Idan thought it would not be comfortable, so we started hiking on in the dark.
The trail was all ridge walk, so it was hard finding a good place for our tents. But after about a mile, we stopped at someplace reasonable. It was tight for both of our tents, but we managed to set them up somehow.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Day 101 - campsite near pct mile 1501 To Mt Shasta

Short day into town.
As we expected, the 680 feet climb to the interstate was a mistake, and the entire hike was an easy down hill.
We didn't have much luck hitching from the road, though. I tried hitching on the interstate itself, while Idan was standing down by the ramp entering the highway, trying to hitch there.
After a while a car came around, dropping Roi and Sara. It's like Chester all over again! We got a ride into town with Paul, who just took them to the trail.
Paul is married to Atara, who is an Israeli living in Mt Shasta. He took us to her arts and crafts store, and it was very nice meeting up with her. She said she is running the Israeli Center of Mt Shasta - whenever Israeli tourists come into town, they are being directed to her store, where she helps them around.
Paul then dropped us off at the Black Bear, a local dinner, where we had some breakfast and a shake.
We went over and got a room at the Budget Inn. Beer got into town last night, and was zeroing in today. He has a smaller room, but he had a fridge, so we put some of our supplies in there for the night.
After the usual shower/laundry/resupply routine, we grabbed some late lunch. I had my first Taco Bell on the trail. Not worth it.
In the evening, we went to the Black Bear again, with Beer. For dinner I had another veggie burger. Nothing special also.
Atara's store and "Israeli Center"
Happy Trails indeed

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Day 100 - Butcherknife Creek to campsite near pct mile 1501.6

I was hoping to do a shorter day today, finish early, and leave an easy 11 miles into Mt Shasta for tomorrow. Idan had other plans.
The main problem with my plan was that it required dry camping in the middle of a 10 miles waterless stretch. But I figured we'd just carry enough from the Squaw Valley Creek for our camp.
The trail up to Squaw Valley Creek wasn't too bad. We had some climbs, but it was almost all in the shade. The day was hot, and we were dripping. Bit it was nothing we hadn't seen in the previous days.
When we got to Squaw, I went in an awesome dipping hole for a dip. It really felt good. By the time I dried and put on my clothes, I felt like dipping again.
It was rather early in the day, and Idan was intent on doing the extra 5 miles to the end of the waterless stretch. That would make tomorrow much easier into town, but today would become harder.
At the end I gave up. Getting into town that early might also mean we wouldn't have to zero on the next day, which would earn us another day. Besides, it was early, at 14:30, and we can hike those 10 remaining miles easily in 4 hours anyway.
What scared us the most was that Halfmile's app said there would be a 3400 feet climb in those 10 miles. After the first 5 miles, we still has 1400 feet climb left. Checking the map, we couldn't see any major climbs. The app was wrong, it was an easy descent all along. That was a very nice surprise.
The bad surprise came along after passing the first, and then the second water source. They were both on the ridge line, with no suitable flat spots nearby. Continuing onward, I started to think we might make a really long way and reach the highway. Bit 1.5 miles later we crossed a first road, and found a flat campsite for us. An easy day of less than 5 miles tomorrow.
Halfmile's app insists we have a 680 feet climb tomorrow, before we reach the interstate. But again - according to the map, it's all down hill from here. I am sure next year's data would be much more accurate.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Day 99 - Deadman Creek to Butcherknife Creek

Another long day with big waterless stretches. We started our hike with just about a liter of water each. The next source according to Halfmile's app was about 7 miles north, but Yogi's book had some info on a good spring in the next road crossing. We were glad to see that it was right.
The temperature at the morning was very nice, even a bit chilly while we were on the shaded, western slopes. But later in the day we suffered the terrible heat again, and just sweated our way down the trail.
Stopping also at the next water source, the one 7 miles from our campsite, we had to decide if we'd carry water for 7 more miles, and then go on a long, 0.5 miles side trail, to the next water source, or carry water for 15 miles, and skip the detour. We decided to carry more water on us.
The trail went up a nice ridge. The views were a bit hazy. Beer told us it might be from a big forest fire raging in Oregon. But we could see the giant Mt Shasta looking above us in the horizon. It appears to be a very impressive mountain.
The side trail to the water source after 7 miles was completely over grown, and we were happy we took water for the entire stretch. We found a good spring about 2 miles later, again Yogi's book was right, and got some more cold water from there.
The rest of the way was mostly down, and we passed several water sources, before setting up camp at Butcherknife Creek. It's a very nice little campsite here, and we are also right by the water. So I washed my feet clean, and my socks.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Day 98 - Burney to Deadman Creek

Getting up in the morning, we went to the motel's continental breakfast. It wasn't much, but I had some cornflakes, a danish and drank orange juice and got chocolate.
Back in the room, we discovered the gas canister Big Boots bought for us yesterday was way too big and heavy for our needs. We tried looking around for smaller ones, maybe in the hiker box in the post office, or one canister we got from Hop Scotch, who was just sending his side home, but at the end we just took the big canister with us.
The lady at the front desk or the motel said there is a local trail angel who drives hikers up to the trail. She gave her a call, and Mary came a few minutes later to pick us up. I think we were the first hikers to go up to the trail today.
We got a ride back to where I got off yesterday, and headed out into the Burney Falls State Park. It was a bit off tail, but we wanted to see the falls. We stopped at the general store for ice cream, and met Smuggles, Chop Chop, Prospector, Luna and Crackpot. After finishing the ice cream, we went and did the falls loop trail, on the way back to the pct.
Apparently, the snow melt from Mt Burney, 15 miles away, gets here in a mostly underground stream. We even crossed a wooden bridge over a dry river bed just before getting to the park. But about 0.25 miles before the falls, the stream comes out gushing, and the falls themselves are very very impressive.
Back on the trail, we thought we have a few more miles to hike, until we reach a dam with a water spigot. The dam was there, no spigot was found. We still had enough water to get us to Rock Creek. So no worries.
On a short break, just after the dam, String Beans passed us. At first we thought he was just trail running a bit around, but he told us he is doing the entire pct, and is currently on schedule to set a new supported record of 57 days. He started on June 18th, one month ago. Very impressive.
Continuing on, the heat of the day made it hard to hike. We were happy to get to Rock Creek, where Yogi's guide started there are some great dipping holes. We went under the bridge, and I got in for a good dip. It felt really good, in this heat.
We headed on in the heat, and kept on hiking. The initial plan was to do a 16 mile day, but we knew doing a 22 mile day today would make the rest of the section to Mt Shasta easier. We decided to push onward, and reached the road junction of Deadman Creek quite late. There were also no spots near the water source.
We pushed on just a bit, and found a good campsite just at the next road crossing. We didn't have a water source nearby, but we had just enough water for dry camping from filling up earlier.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Day 97 - Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery to Burney

What an awful night. The worst on the trail so far. My tent's netting zipper failed on me again, and I couldn't get it closed during the night. And there were plenty of mosquitoes at the fish hatchery. The night was also very warm, so I slept only in my silk liner through most of it. Which probably helped the mosquitoes to bite me. I awoke many times during the night, and on several occasions turned on my headlamp and hunted at least 5 mosquitoes inside my tent, every time. When the morning came, I welcomed it.
The day's hike was rather easy, with only 11 miles for me to do, until I reach highway 89, and hitch into town. I passed Thru Fisher, and later Zen Dawg, just before the first highway crossing. I wanted to stop for a quick breakfast, but discovered i am almost at the first road crossing, so i decided to push to there instead.
When I got to the road, I saw a note about a water cache 1 mile ahead. I pushed a bit more, and I got to the best cache/trail magic I've encountered so far. There were tons of sodas, a lot of water, a cupboard full of hiking food, a shaded picnic table, and even a field shower. It was awesome.
I met Roi and Sara there, as well as Alan, Bomber and Siesta. There was a digital camera there, meant for hikers to take photos of themselves. That's a nice idea. I had a can of sprite, and rested a bit, and then headed out with Roi and Sara to finish my day.
The remaining 6 miles were also mostly flat and easy. There was a bit of much needed rain, but it stopped quickly enough. I finally got to highway 89 a bit after 10:00, just as I caught up to Beer. He continued to the state park, 1 mile further.
I met Big Boots on the road, trying to hitch into town. I tried helping, but the cars just kept on zooming by. Finally, a lady came back from the forest after her trail run, and to us both into Burney.
She dropped us at the Shasta Pines motel, where she stayed, and Big Boots hurried to the library. He has some business he needs to get done in the east coast, and he needed a computer, printer and scanner for it. I went over to the McDonald's, to meet Idan and Zen Dawg, who came into town earlier.
After some fries and a shake, we went next door to our motel (the Charm Motel). Our room wasn't ready yet, so we left our packs, and got to Safeway's to buy resupply.
After getting back, we got into our room. We got the disabled accessible room, which turned out great. It was much bigger than usual, with plenty of space for 4 hikers' gear. The shower was also very comfortable.
After I showered, I went over to the post office, to get the zipper sliders I got from TarpTent. It was time to replace the sliders on my tent, so that last night doesn't happen again. I went west for almost a mile, where I noticed there was a seamstress shop I just walked by. I entered, and asked if she can help me with fixing my tent. I told her I have the replacement zipper sliders, and I just need some stoppers, which would be much easier to install than sewing the zippers. She was very helpful, and have me the stoppers for free. She also told me the post office is on the other side of town. Bummer. But at least I got the stoppers.
I walked all the way back to the other side of town, and got the zippers from by bounce box. Back at the room, our laundry was done, so Idan and I went to find some lunch.
The alpine burger place had nothing vegetarian on the menu, so we went further, to the Mexican place. They didn't have anything on the menu as well, but we got them to make a veggie burrito for us, which was very nice.
At the room, I replaced the zippers on the tent finally. It was rather easy. I hope they will last for the rest of the trip.
For dinner, Zen Dawg and I just bought some microwave dinners from the store, while Idan and Big Boots got meat, and did an Israeli style grill at the motel. It was very impressive.
Many other hikers were staying at the same motel as well, including Hop Scotch, Leo, Nina, Double Tap, Fire Starter and Gas Pedal, and Banana Boat and Trail Candy. Some would be zeroing here tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Day 96 - Subway Cave to Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery

What a long long and hot day.
We left camp at 6:30, and did the short climb up to Hat Creek Rim. From there, the trail was pretty much level for most of the day.
We were entering a long, 30 miles stretch of no natural water sources. We knew there is a maintained cache in the middle ("cache 22" on forest road 22), but because if the heat, I carried 4 liters of water on me from Subway Cave in the morning.
When we got up to the first campsite, 2.5 miles in, we saw a note telling us that there might also be water caches at Hat Creek Rim Lookout Site and Cassel Fall River Rd, 4 miles before and 10 miles after the other cache. We weren't sure how well maintained they were, but it was a good start.
We hiked on, and caught up with Roi and Sara, and hiked with them to the first cache, which had water. We stopped there for a while, under a nice tree. Roi and Sara headed on, as well as Alan. Wolf and Sprinkle rested there as well.
The rest of the day was very similar -hiking on in the sun, the views were very similar to the Golan Heights, and every several miles we'd stop for a much needed rest.
The second cache was also very nice. A good shaded spot with a lot of water. We met Thru Fisher there. She planned on staying around until the evening, and only then hike on. Doesn't sound like a bad idea. But we hiked on anyway.
On the way to the last cache we passed by Big Boots, who also took a nap in the shade. At the last cache he caught up to us, and we all moaned about the long and hot day.
The final 4 miles were as hard and boring as the rest of the day. But we finally reached the fish hatchery. We met up with Roi and Sara again, who decided to stay here after all, and Alan, and Beer.
The location was great - we had toilets, power outlets, a house for a quick wash, running water and even Wi-Fi. An excellent place to end such a long day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Day 95 - Drakesbad Guest Ranch to Subway Cave

Today we've hiked a long day. Luckily, it was mostly overcast, so even though it was hot, it could have been much worse.
The hike itself was easy enough, with almost no climbing for the entire day. We had a long section with no water sources listed in Halfmile's app, but there was a spring in the middle (around mile 1367.7), which was just a bit off trail. That was helpful. There was also a side trail to water at around mile 1369.5, and another at 1372.5. But we didn't check out those.
We had to reach Old Station before the Post Office closes, at 16:30, and we made it there before 16:00. We weren't sure if the RV park by the po is operational, and luckily it was. So besides getting our package, we also got a shower and laundry, and had burgers for late lunch (or early dinner).
After the laundry finished dying, we headed out to hike another 4 miles to the Subway Cave campground, which is the last water source for the next 30 miles or so. There is a maintained cache at the middle, but tomorrow will be another long and hot day. At least it will be even easier than today, with elevation gain if just around 1700 feet.
We are camped with Roi and Sara again, and it looks like they will also do the 30 tomorrow, like us. So that's nice. Zen Dawg and Allen are here too. Big Boots was leaving just as we got here, but he plans to get into Burney in two days, so we will spilt a room with him there. I want to get there already, after an easy day into town...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Day 94 - Chester to Drakesbad Guest Ranch

We went to the supermarket in the morning, and got some supplies and stuff for breakfast. Shortly after, we headed out to hitch back up to the trail.
It didn't take that long, and we got a ride together with Double Tap. We got to the trail at about 10:00, and started our day.
The trail was rather easy. There were also enough water sources during the day. We leap frogged with Beer and Allen for a while, until we finally reached the dirt road leading to Drakesbad.
We met up Roi and Sara over there. They did a short day to get there, and wait for us. It was nice to see them again, with more time to catch up.
We went to the warm water swimming pool, took a very good shower, and went inside. That was a very nice way to end the day's hike. Later, we got the hiker's menu at the restaurant, together with Hop Scotch, Double Tap, Forty Five, Whiskey and Beer. I got a nice vegetarian dish, with polenta and lots of vegetables.
We were approached by a guest of the ranch, who told us that they come over for a vacation every year (her mom first came here in 1941! And she is here now!), and they always give pct hikers a bottle of wine, as a tradition. So she gave us a bottle. That was very nice indeed.
After dinner, we got back down the road to the campsite, and set up for a late camp. All in all, stopping here in Drakesbad was worth it.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Day 93 - Cold Springs to Chester

We've finally reached the halfway point. It seems a bit disheartening, to figure or we only did half of the trail. On the other hand, we've already did half of the trail! And the second half should go by much faster!
In contrast to the previous several days, the terrain today was not too difficult. We only had a moderate climb, and a long descent down to the highway at the end. But it was spread out on about 27 miles, which made it the biggest day for us so far.
We managed to start hiking earlier than usual, hitting the trail just before 6:30. That was good, because the day was hotter than yesterday, and we had some sections of exposed ridge line, or burnt forest.
Three was also a rather long section with no water source on trail. From our campsite last night, at Cold Springs, the was no water on the trail for 23 miles. There was a place in the middle, on Carter Trail, with water some 0.5 miles off the PCT. But we found a side trail a way before that, with water only 0.3 miles off trail. So we filled up there. There was another side trail to water, before we got to the Career junction. But we didn't go down there.
We finally reached the halfway marker at 14:30. It's not very accurate, since the trail changes from time to time. But it's pretty close.
From there, we had some 5 more miles to finally reach the water source. The trail was mostly down hill at this point, and we raced down it. At the stream, we caught up to Lingo, Sugar Pine and Rocket Llama. They hiked out before we did, but we passed them later on the way down.
When we reached the highway, I went over for the trail magic, to get myself a soda, when a car pulled over. It was Roi and Sara, who just got back from a week at the bay area! That was quite a good timing!
They got a ride with a nice guy from Chico, who I later discovered knew the guy who did the very nice PCT movie "Tell It On The Mountain", and also helped him produce it.
They were heading out in the evening, but we might catch them again tomorrow. Who knows?
We got a ride into Chester with that same guy, and Rocket Llama joined in. I had a huge peaches and vanilla shake with fries, and then we went and split a ton at the Seneca Motel. Idan got bummed that the bed was a bit too small, so he decided to crash on the floor tonight, and pay less.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Day 92 - Little Haven to Cold Springs

After a nice night on the floor of the Little Haven, I got up for some fresh cut watermelon that Andrea has cut for us. A short while later Stumbles took the initiative, and started making pancakes for everyone, using a pancake mix that was in the hiker's kitchen. Everyone were thankful and well fed.
Andrea started shuttling hikers to the trail as soon as the trunk of her car was full. We got out to the trail at 8:00, and headed out. It took us about half an hour, and probably over a 1000 feet climb, to realize we were not on the pct. My bad. I told Idan we should follow some trail from the parking area, but there was no pct marking, and I didn't check the map. After another half hour, we finally got back down to start again, this time getting on the right trail.
The first section of the trail, right up to the second water source, was not so bad. But then the climb started. We knew it's going to be a really long and hard one, this time.
Banana Boat passed us, and said something about doing a 30 miler day today. We wished her luck. We were only doing 18 today. With that long climb, and the hot weather, it seems enough.
The good thing about the climb, was the abundance of water sources. We never needed to carry more than 1 liter of water, with good streams and springs every mile or two.
After about two hours, while hiking in tall grass that hid the trail, I stumbled upon Idan, sitting on the trail, under the grass. At first I thought he was just resting in the only available shade. But it turned it he had a nasty fall, and twisted his ankle. It sounded pretty bad, and we hiked together for the next water source, where he dipped his foot in ice cold water for a while. He was in pain for the rest of the day, but he still hiked quickly.
After crossing Chips Creek twice, the climb went a bit easier, and even resembled a normal trail. We still had some up hill to do, but it wasn't so bad anymore. We filled some water 4.5 miles before the end, and headed out for the last section of the day. It went by fast, and we got to camp just before 19:00.
The spring here at Cold Spring flows strong, and is just by the tent sites. We had a good and filling dinner, and then Hop Scotch came along. We sat and talked for a while, before retiring to sleep.
Tomorrow we will try to get up an hour earlier. We hope to do a long day of 27 miles into Chester. But maybe we will stop before we get to the highway... We will see.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Day 91 - Quincy to Little Haven

Getting out of towns is always hard. Even getting up in the morning, from that comfortable bed, is hard. But I managed to drag myself up, eat some yogurt and a banana, and get my gear in my backpack.
Hitching out of Quincy wasn't easy as well. After a while, a car pulled over and took me only about a mile, to the hospital. Over there I tried hitching for a long while. The caretaker of the campground up near Bucks Summit (my hitching destination) pulled over and said he'd be back in about an hour, and pick me up if I'm still around. Luckily, I managed to get a ride before that.
The ride I got was with a Mercedes (!). It was an old car, though. It slowed down, and then pulled over some distance from me. When I tried to figure out if it was really stopping for me, and started walking towards it, it pulled off again. But then it turned around, and got back for me. So that was good.
I was picked up by a lady and a young girl. When they heard I was from Israel they told me the girl studied Hebrew in school for several years. She understood some of my Hebrew as well. The lady driving the car had volunteered in kibbutz Hatzerim a long time ago, and also remembered some words in Hebrew.
They really drove out of their way to get me to the summit, which was about twice the distance they planned on going. The car had other plans, and had a really hard time on some of those climbs. But we got to the summit at the end.
Up there, I met Kermit and Jeannie Bug again, just as Trail Candy was heading out into the trail. I got a tangerine, thanked them for their magic again, and also headed north.
Just before I started hiking, Banana Boat passed by in a car, looking for Trail Candy. I carried her message for him, that she is behind, and might come over to the Brattens (our destination for the day), and told him when I passed him a bit later.
View towards Silver Lake
The hike was rather easy, most of the day. Some small climbs, and a big big hike down at the end. I passed Lingo, Sugar Pine and Ticket Llama, and another hiker I didn't catch his trail name.
A nice day to be outside
The big climb we have in store tomorrow
A bit after passing them, I almost stepped on a rattlesnake. I thought we were over with the snakes a long time ago. I took some steps back, and waited for him to stop rattling. The other hikers caught up, and we waited together, trying to prod it, to make it go away. At the end it moved, and we sprinted over the spot where he had been.
The Rattler of north California
The rest of the climb down was uneventful, and I got to the Belden store and got an ice cream sandwich and a Gatorade. Trying to get to the hostel proved hard with no signs or direction, so I got back to the store, and met Hop Scotch, who just called the angels, and got us a ride there.
Going down towards Belden and the Feather River
Just a strange Panda graffiti in Belden
I met Idan over here, and got a room to place my mattress on a nice floor. There is no reception or Wi-Fi here, so I'm all disconnected. But at the moment I am playing scrabble with Stumbles and Rocket Llama.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Day 90 - zero day in Quincy

Today was a very successful zero day. We mostly did nothing. I got up late, at about 8:00, and just ate some breakfast I bought at the supermarket yesterday. I passed the time until going to the post office to finally pick up my new battery.
It's going to get stormy
The battery arrived, and it was rather easy replacing it myself. One of the screwdrivers that were shipped with it didn't match the screws in my phone, but I improvised with the tip of my swiss army knife. So far the new battery works fine.
Other than that, we didn't leave the room much. I just ate loads of snacks, and drank some of the beers I bought yesterday. We also watched Mission Impossible 5 on TV. Or maybe 4. Stupid movie.
When we headed out for dinner, we passed by the owner's place, because he said he needs some help printing something. He needed some help typing something in his computer, so I typed it in for him, and had it printed it nicely. Their daughter was just there, and they were making home made pizzas, and invited us for dinner. It was the best pizza we had on the trail, and I also got some yellow lentils in curry and chili. Very very spicy, but it was delicious. And so very special compared to what I normally eat in towns. That was some trail magic, no doubt!
A big glass of wine, and I'm ready to crash now. The plan tomorrow is to get to the Braatens at end, a hostel about 20 miles further from where we took off. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day 89 - campsite near PCT mile 1260.5 to Quincy

Today we had a short day into town. Shortly after heading out we crossed a nice spring at mile 1261.30. It wasn't in Halfmile's app, so that was a nice surprise.
Good spring at mile 1261.30
While filling out our water, Big Boots caught up to us. Apparently he was half a day behind us since Sierra City. But we were going into Quincy, and zeroing tomorrow, while he was heading on. So he will be ahead now. Until next time our paths cross.
Getting closer to Buck's Summit road
We made a quick stop at a water source 2 miles before the end of our day, and then headed out to finish it off. I passed a couple of south bound hikers, and the woman told me we have some "neat trail magic" waiting for us up ahead. That really made me hike faster.
When we finally got to the road, we met Kermit and Jeannie Bug. They were doing great and much needed trail magic. I got some sweetened ice tea, and hike made brownies, and we sat there for a while with Forty Five and Whiskey before catching a ride down to town.
The first car that passed by stopped for us, which is always nice. Our driver was a forest service fire fighter, of the "hot shots" team, which goes in on forest fires all over the country, hikes in to the fire's edge, and clear the trees around it so it won't spread. Sounds like a very hard and intense job.
Down in town, we stopped at the Subway and had subs, and later went over to compare prices at the two motels. We got a good deal in the Spanish Creek Model, for two nights. The room is really good - it has a full fridge, microwave, oven with stove. A really big room. With two queen beds.
We went over to the post office to get our bounce box and my new smartphone battery. The battery will arrive tomorrow.
Back at the room, I basically did nothing but shower, while Idan helped the motel's owner with his printer. It took him a while, and about three round trips to a store to get different ink cartridges. At least we got free laundry out of it.
Later we got a ride from the owner to the Safeway's. We got our resupplies, and called him for a ride back, like he said. But he couldn't come. We waited for the bus that never came, but suddenly his wife came over and picked us up anyway. They are very nice, indeed.
My hummus plate. The Thai wrap wasn't as photogenic.
Later, we went out for dinner at Pangaea. I had hummus for a starter, which came with artichoke and balsamic oil, and some Thai wrap for entree. That was really filling. Idan really enjoyed his burger, even though they didn't have any fries.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day 88 - campsite near PCT mile 1239 to campsite near PCT mile 1260.5

During the night we had some rain drops, and we woke up to a cloudy day. This time the clouds remained all through the day.
After two small climbs, we stopped just before the big decent into Middle Fork Feather River. Forty Five and another hiker passed us, and right behind them Young Oak and his girlfriend. She came from Paris to hike with him, and in two days she will finish her hike.
Just after I started my decent into the river, rain drops started falling. I quickly removed my hiking shirt, and put on my rain jacket. It was still very hot and humid, so I didn't need anything under the jacket. Sadly, rain didn't come, and I got down to the river sweating in my jacket. It could have been worse - my jacket is rather will ventilated, when all the zippers are open.
Down at the river, we crossed the bridge and took a side trail to get to the water. We could see a great big pool to the left of the bridge, from the top, but we couldn't get to it from where we were. We still found a nice shady spot, and good dipping holes. We both took a much needed shower in the stream, and cleaned up a bit.
The bridge over Middle Fork Feather River
From there, we had to climb up everything we had just climbed down, and more. Luckily, there was plenty of water along the way, so we didn't carry too much on us.
Our aim was to get to the water at wa1259, fill up there, and dry camp where we'd find a spot. The section right before that water source was where most of the climb was, and I was trying to hike it fast. It was hard. I kept hoping the water is around the corner, and it wasn't.
Pea Sea Tea. Artist unknown. Neat the Best Creek bridge.
The rain finally started just as I caught on to Idan. We hiked just a bit more, and found some trickle by the trail. We weren't sure if this is our water source or not, but we filled up some anyway. It was a really slow source, but it's a good thing we got water, as this was the famous wa1259.
The rain wasn't too strong, but it kept on falling. I put on my rain jacket again, this time with good reason, and we kept on hiking just to find a good campsite. It took a while, since most of the trail was on a steep ridge, but eventually it got flatter, and we found a good spot. It is quite small, so our tents are literally touching each other.
By now the rain has stopped. Brad, Forty Five, Salsa and another three hikers passed us. They all did more miles then we did, just to get to here. So it's impressive that they just keep on going.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Day 87 - campsite near PCT mile 1216 to campsite near PCT mile 1239

The day started nicely with some overcast clouds, which made all the difference. It was even chilly for a short while! We hiked out to the A Tree spring and junction, and got some fresh cool water over there.
From there, the climbs started. It was similar to yesterday, though we had less ridge walks, and more walks in dense forest.
We stopped at the next water source, which was a not before the campsite, while the one at the nearer to the campsite was dry. Halfmile's app did not mention the one before. It also didn't mention the two Beartrap streams we passed, which were flowing well.
A couple of slack packers passed us when we stopped, and we later passed them back. Only then I recognized the woman. I saw her hiking with her daughter last week, the day we left Markleeville. She plans on hiking the entire PCT like that, with her husband and with her daughter, to complete her Grand Slam.
We kept on hiking, making another stop next to Whiskey Spring, after the next climb. It was water, coming out of the spring. And it was also 0.3 miles away from the trail. While we stopped there, Smitty passed us.
4 miles later we reached the Quincy-LaPorte Road, our initial destination for the day. We met Clarissa, the daughter of the slack packing couple we saw earlier. She was in charge of setting up camp for the night. There were also two trail magic coolers by the road, filled up with trash. Disappointing.
After sitting there for a while, and meeting up with Smitty again (I last saw him on the day I got out of Ziggy and The Bear), we went on. It was still early, at 16:00, and we wanted to do some more miles to get us closer to town in two days.
Yogi's book had a quote from Scott Williamson about Adler Spring being 0.5 miles after that first road crossing (at 1235.5). The mileage is wrong, and it's closer to 1237.5. Just FYI.
The attacking Grouse
At the spring we filled up for dry camping, then headed out to find a good camp spot. I got attacked by a grouse, or something similar, when I passed next to it's nest, full of hatchlings. It was funny to see it dancing around me, and making all the noise it can make.
We had a hard time finding a flat area to camp, in this dense forest. But we found something. So I hope we will sleep well tonight.
Our tight campsite for the night

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Day 86 - Sierra City to campsite near PCT mile 1216

I worried all through the night about the climb out of Sierra City. In the morning, we got our stuff together, and went to get breakfast at the Red Moose Cafe, behind which we have tented last night. Almost everyone inside was a hiker, and we got a table, and both had the eggs breakfast with no meat. It took a long time for the scrambled eggs and two toasts to appear...
View from the climb up from Sierra City
In the mean time, we met Big Boots, who have just come into town. He planned to spend a few hours there, and head out today. Maybe he will catch us some day soon. We also saw Zen Dawg, just when we started trying to hitch back to the trail. He might also head out today.
It took us a while, but we finally got a ride up, and started our hike at about 9:00. Not too bad to start that early when coming out of town.
The trail immediately began to climb, and it kept at it for the next 8 miles. Half of it was above trees, and under scorching sun. It was no fun. Even after the big first climb of the day, we still had plenty of climbing to do today. A total of 4400 feet of climb. Not fun indeed.
We saw some day hikers and bikers at around Packer Lake Saddle, but nobody offered us any sodas. We pushed through anyway.
A big deer on the trail, right by where we camped for the night
At the end of the day, I reached the sign to the water source, and couldn't see Idan. I went ahead a bit, and tried calling him. Then I remembered he was low on water, so he was probably over at the spring. Coming back, I was relieved to see his backpack near the trail, where I haven't looked before. I did find him at the nice piped spring on the side trail, and we filled up some water there. I might go over there tomorrow morning to get a bit more before heading on.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Day 85 - Meadow Lake Road to Sierra City

After waking up too early in the morning, because the hikers nearby were not very quiet when they got up in the morning, we finally headed out to our long day.
View towards Meadow Lake
We managed to do the first 10 miles or so before it was too hot, which was nice. It included some more ridge walking, on the shady side of the mountain.
We filled our water at East Meadow camp ground, seeing many cars passing by, and fantasizing about being offered a soda from someone. We had no such luck.
Going up another climb or two, the day became hotter and hotter. We just trudged on, and made another short water stop at Milton Creek. From there, we had about 5 more miles to go until highway 49, which leads to Sierra City.
Sierra City general store
I headed out and walked this last bit with no breaks. Just before the highway, I passed two southbound hikers that started at Crater Lake, some 600 miles to the north. We might bump into Tree Hugger and Petunia again in Oregon or Washington, when they hop over to do that section next.
When I finally got to the road, I found Waterfall and Backup just as they were meeting Waterfall's aunt and uncle. They offered me a ton of melon, watermelon and pineapple pieces, and brownies and cookies. That was an awesome way to finish up a hot day of walking.
I started walking down the highway towards town, and managed to catch a ride after several minutes. I met Idan at the back yard of the Red Moose Inn, where hikers can camp for free. We wanted to inquire about getting a room there, or at least a shower, but there was nobody around to talk to.
We did manage to get a quick hose shower, and then to do our laundry by the general store. We got a buffet dinner at the Old Sierra City Hotel (no rooms for rent, only a bar/restaurant), and are now heading back to the back yard to crash for the night.
The town is full of hikers, many camp behind the church as well. We met Stumbles, which we haven't seen since around Ziggy and The Bear, and a lot of other new and fast hikers catching up from behind. It starts to feel as though we are in "the herd".

Friday, July 4, 2014

Day 84 - Truckee to Meadow Lake Road

After a good night's sleep in a real bed, I got up in the morning and arranged my gear. I remembered to take my cream cheese from the fridge, but I did not take the Ben & Jerri's I bought yesterday. I hope out will be put to good use.
View from Donner Pass towards Donner Lake
Greg took us up to the trail, back on highway 40, at about 9:00. We said farewell, and headed to the trail. We had less than 4 miles between highway 40 and interstate 80, and we covered it quite quickly. After crossing under the interstate we stopped for our first break, which lasted a bit longer than usual.
And towards the old railway tunnel
We saw many day hikers climbing along the trail, mostly heading up to the Donner Lake Rim Trail, I guess. Maybe to see the fireworks tonight from since good location.
I finally got in eBay and bought a new battery for my cell phone, along with the tools to open it and replace the current battery. I will get it in Quincy, in about 5 more days.
Heading on, we climbed over Castle Pass, and then down to Peter Grubb Hut. I was expecting an  Appalachian Trail like shelter, but it was a big, enclosed, hut, with two floors. It seemed like a very nice place to stop.
Just an interesting tree stump, shaped like a foot
We met Chop Chop, Sugar and Prospector there, for the first time. They just left when we came, and I had my lunch, and leafed thorough the register. It's funny, seeing people that were with us in Mammoth, that had passed here 10 days ago. Some hikers are really fast...
We got some water from the stream by the hut, and headed on to the next marked water source. It took a while to get there, with several annoying climbs on the way, but we got there at the end. We had some more snacks and filled our water again, before going to the day's destination - Meadow Lake Road. The app said there is a campsite with seasonal water nearby, so we were counting on it.
The trail kept on climbing up and going down, but it was all in a nice forest, and later over a ridge line with good views around. Finally we reached the road quite early, just after 17:00. There is some water here, with a sign claiming there is another water source 0.3 miles down stream. We started going down there with just our empty bottles, but gave up after a short while, and filled up from a small trickle.
The campsite itself is rather small, and I was worried that Chop Chop, Sugar and Prospector would not have enough room here, but they camped about 100 feet before our spot, at a different location.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Day 83 - campsite near PCT mile 1133 to Truckee

What a great day!
We started off by hiking up on the ridge for several miles, enjoying the nice views around. After a while, the trail went down to Five Lakes Creek campsite, where we filled up some water and met Raspberry. He was going to meet his wife and head off trail for a few days, when he gets down to Donner Pass. Lucky him.
Walking below the ridge, under Ward Peak
From there, we started our climb up to near some ski lift, and then down again to the next water sources. From the last water source we had about 13 miles until the road, so we filled up again, and left for the final section of the day.
We had another bit of a climb, up towards Tinker Knob, and from there we had some more great views, and a very nice ridge walk. Another little climb later, and we were near Mt. Judah, and started to see some day hikers coming up from the highway parking area.
View from Tinker Knob
The hike down to the road was steep and rocky, but we could smell town, so we just went down without pausing.
Down at the partying area we were immediately approached by a guy asking us of we were thru hikers. After responding that we were, we got a soda and a beer. We were wondering how hard it would be to hitch from there down to Truckee, but Reno Dave said he'd be leaving in half an hour, and we would be welcomed to ride with him to Truckee.
After a very nice chat with Reno Dave, both at the Donner Pass parking area and in his car, we got dropped off at the Truckee Safeway. We bought some supplies for the next, 2 day, section, in between a TON of people. Maybe they were getting ready for their 4th of July celebrations tomorrow. By the time I got out, Idan was already sitting with Greg, Half of our local trail angels, who came to pick us up over to their house.
At their house I got my new pair of hiking shoes. Janet really helped me a lot with getting the package, as we couldn't get here before the post office closes, and tomorrow it'll be closed all day. So she picked up the package for me. The shoes themselves are the same model as the old pair, only a bit wider. I hope I won't get any blisters.
The old pair of shoes vs the new one
After getting here, I got settled in one of Greg and Janet's boys' room, and Idan got a futon at the ground floor. We got showered and did our laundry, and then headed out to the Village Pizza, to meet Janet and Ann, the third half of our trail angels, who met us yesterday up at Barker Pass and had set us up with Greg and Janet.
Janet and Ann just came back from a 10 mile hike near Echo Lake. They go out hiking almost every day. It must be so fun to live so chose to such great hiking trails.
The dinner was very nice. We all had a great conversation about trail topics and some other stuff as well. I had very good stuffed shells with spinach and artichoke, and we all had a great time.
Greg, Janet, Ann, Idan and I
Coming back to the house, Janet told me about all the stuff she had learned in order to be a Search & Rescue volunteer. It's all very impressive. I wish I could learn half of that stuff, and put it to good use.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Day 82 - Dick's Lake to campsite near PCT mile 1133

It was a longer day than we first thought.
Passing by Middle Velma Lake
The trail was the usual rolling self. Some ups and downs. We kept leap frogging a couple we've seen many times now, and I still don't remember their trail names.
There was a section of about 10 miles with no water, but we were ready for it, and carried enough. After that there were plenty of water sources.
We first planned to hike to a campsite 19 miles away from last night, but we saw we'd get there too early, and we might as well push a bit further, and dry camp up on the ridge.
There was also the matter of my shoes. At the current pace we'd get to Truckee tomorrow evening, or on the next morning. And that will be the 4th of July - the US independence day. The post office will be closed, and I'd be forced to wait a day to get them, or continue hiking for two more days with my disintegrating shoes, before trying to get back to Truckee from Sierra City, or something like that.
When we got to Baker Pass I tried calling the post office, to get them to forward my package for me to Sierra City, and save me the trouble. The clerk on the phone said he couldn't do that, but I can have someone else pick up the package for me. Idan was trying to get in touch with Free Loader, a local PCT trail Angel that recently published he can help hikers around Truckee. We were looking for a place to shower and do laundry in Truckee, since we didn't want to stay the night at an expensive hotel over the 4th of July. I was also hoping he would be able to help me with my package.
Sadly, he only had reception for SMS, and he replied saying he'd call is in 30 minutes. So we waited there on Baker Pass...
A very nice lady came hiking down to the parking area, and started talking with Idan. She was from Truckee, and a minute after she left, she came back holding her cell phone. She was talking to a friend of hers, also from Truckee, who's sons were just in Israel, in Birthright. They both offered to help us.
Janet, the friend on the phone, agreed to go pick up my package from the post office. So that took a huge load of my chest. But she then also offered to have us sleep at her place overnight tomorrow. So that really solved all of our problems at once. We got her phone number, and gave her ours. We are going into Truckee tomorrow evening.

We still had some miles to cover, now with the added goal of making tomorrow's hike into Truckee a bit shorter. After passing our intended campsite, and filling up water for dry camping, we walked about 4 more miles, and found a spot for our tents. Is not the most level tent site I've had, but it will work for tonight.
Lake Tahoe at the distant horizon