Date: Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Start: Camped by the trail in Fitzhugh Gulch at Mile 1470.6, 2286 ft
Finish: Where PCT crosses Interstate Hwy 5 at Mile 1498.7, 2133 ft
Daily Miles: 28.1 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 958.4
Weather: Warm and sunny
Accommodation: Dunsmuir Inn & Suites motel in Dunsmuir
Dinner: Pizza and ice cream
Aches: Right shoulder sore most of the day, despite a lighter pack than usual.
Highlight: Managing to cover 28 miles in the day to reach Interstate Hwy 5, then getting a lift into Dunsmuir for two days off and pizza for dinner.
Lowlight: Worried about aching right shoulder. Still think it maybe a pinched nerve, but it’s getting to the point where I may start taking the anti-inflammatories my GP prescribed in advance in case of problems such as these with my aging body.
Pictures: Click here
I woke at 5:00am and was on the trail at 6:00am to give myself every chance of covering the 28 miles to Interstate Hwy 5 and Dunsmuir. A beefy Dutch girl heading south along the PCT last night told me that the trail to I-5 was a “cakewalk”, but she didn’t mention that I had to cross two mountain ranges and gain and lose 5000 ft in total!
The first hours were spent climbing the first range and despite good trail and pleasant forest, was hard enough that I began to doubt the wisdom of my high mileage day. Then, as usual, I struggled with the session after my breakfast even though it was mostly downhill, but still made reasonable time. There wasn’t much to see, just the green tunnel most of the time, but the temperature was OK and the trail generally good.
The second mountain range, the Trinity Range, was a long haul, but the last part of the climb had great views of Mt Shasta and other mountains to the west as a distraction. At the top of that climb, I began to be more optimistic about reaching the highway by 7:00pm, my self-imposed deadline, and decided to try and book accommodation when I got mobile phone coverage. That happened when I crossed the mountain and I duly made a booking.
From there, it was a long steady descent through the forest on very tired feet and legs. For the last hour I could here the sound of traffic on the highway, but it never seemed to get any closer. Finally, virtually right on 7:00pm, I reached the on ramp to the highway and began hitching. It was a very quiet location, and given the hour, I began to think I might have to try and call a cab for the trip to Dunsmuir, 6 miles away. But happily, Lizzie, a hiker preparing to hike the Oregon section of the PCT next month, stopped for me and dropped me right outside my motel. How lucky can you get! After a shower, I walked into the small town and bought a pizza for dinner, thankful that my plans for the day had worked out and looking forward to two days off.