Date: Thursday, 13 July 2017
Start: Junction with trail to I-5 at Mile 1715.2, 4475 ft
Finish: Camped by the trail at Mile 1734.5, 4715 ft
Daily Miles: 18.3 PCT, plus 1.3 to the trailhead
Total PCT Miles: 1194.2
Weather: Hot and sunny
Breakfast: Chorizo & egg scramble, potatoes, toast & jam
Dinner: Rehydrated rice burrito bowl with chicken flavouring
Highlight: I was slow to leave the motel after breakfast. It was going to be hot, my pack was going to be heavy, and I didn’t really feel like I had had a relaxing break. Consequently, I messed around and it was 8:00am before I began hitching at the nearby freeway on-ramp. There were few cars, and things didn’t look promising. At 8:30am, I called Ashland Mountain Adventures, a mountain bike tour company that might also drop off hikers at the PCT trailhead if they were going that way. Turned out they had a group leaving at 9:00am which I was welcome to join and that their premises were within easy walking distance from where I stood. How lucky was that! Only downer was that the driver missed my drop-off spot, and because she was towing a trailer full of MTBs, couldn’t find another spot to stop for another three quarters of a mile. I had to retrace my steps that distance, even though the trailhead was the other way, to preserve my continuous trail.
[I had been given the name of the company by a young couple from Salt Lake City who are hiking the PCT and who I bumped into on the bus into town yesterday. Sad story is that they were returning to town from the trail, where they had already hitched in the morning, because they realised when they got there, that the guy had left his wallet somewhere in Ashland. They were going to spend the afternoon retracing their steps. Hope they found it.]
Lowlight: Water was scarce today, and after filling my containers at a rare spring, had to carry the full load for the last nine miles on a very hot afternoon to reach where I am camped. It was hard.
Pictures: Click here
As mentioned above, I screwed around before leaving the motel, and although lucky to get a ride back to the trailhead, it was nearly 10:00am before I started hiking. I had set myself a goal of 19 miles and was determined to do it despite the late start. On the plus side, the terrain was supposed to be easier, but on the negative side, the temperature was in the 90s (°F).
Anyway, the trail wasn’t too bad and most of the day fluctuated between 4000 ft and 5000 ft. It was volcanic terrain and quite rocky in parts. As usual there were great views to Mt Shasta, and in other directions. The trail crossed a lot of meadows, some covered with brown dry grass (reminding me of Australia) and others quite green and verdant. There was also lots of forest, where it was at least 10 degrees cooler, and later in the day the trail entered the Soda Mountain Wilderness, where I am tonight.
I decided to stop at the first place I could find to set up a tent after 6:45pm, and was lucky to find a very nice spot a few minutes later. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night and won’t tonight either, unless I want a late start in the morning, but am happy I reached my goal for the day.