June 20: Scott Mountain Campground to just past Carter Meadows Summit on Hwy 93 (PCT miles 1560 to 1581)

My feet are still feeling great as I started climbing my morning hills. I started very early as evidenced by my very long shadow

Today is another day of fantastic views as I work myself north and west towards Etna.

The clouds kept building all day long until about 3:30 when they were darkening and I started hearing thunder. I quickly set up my tent and then watched for a few hours as the storm pass by to the south.

It was pretty much gone by 5:30 and had completely missed me. I thought about packing up and hiking further but decided to stay the night. I tried updating my blog but the cell strength was insufficient to allow photo uploads, so I got caught up on what’s happening with friends on Facebook.

Thanks for reading!

June 19: Upper Deadfall Lake to Scott Mountain Campground (PCT miles 1537 to 1560)

Today was another ridge walk day, some good hills, but the clouds kept the heat down.

I came across a very unusual plant, I think it may be a Pitcher Plant of some sort- bugs get attracted to them but become trapped inside and are digested

They grow in large numbers in marshy areas.

Another new plant was this one

It was growing all along the trail in a few sections. It looks like a tiny Yucca plant.

Late in the afternoon I walked right by my first rattlesnake of the year. It did not start rattling until I had passed.

I had only walked about a quarter mile before the next rattler found me. This time I only heard a loud exhaling noise the source of which I could not locate. Then I heard a very loud and nearby rattling. It was right next to my right leg. It was big too! I quickly jumped/ran forward and then cautiously returned to get photos.

I’m very lucky that it showed restraint and did not strike.

I camped at a public campground with a few car-campers. These campers were more respectful and the campground was silent by 9pm.

Thanks for reading!

June 18: north of Castle Crags State Park to Upper Deadfall Lake (PCT miles 1517 to 1537)

The trail traversed around and over rages today with only mild up and down. The views were great

and the flowers were as well

That last one is a wild strawberry- I’m a bit too early in the season to fully enjoy it!

I decided to camp at Upper Deadfall Lake. The mosquitos were out in force, but once I’m in my tent I’m safe.

Thanks for reading!

June 17: I5 near Dunsmuir to north of Castle Crags State Park (PCT miles 1501 to 1517)

We started our day with another shared breakfast and game of Carcassonne, then drove south to the trail head

Liz hiked with me into the Castle Crags area for 4 miles before returning to the car and driving home. It sure was nice spending the weekend with her! I’m off of my own again.

Castle Crags is a beautiful place and has a very nice trail: clear of vegetation, not too steep and lots of great views:

I found a new flower

And a friendly Gopher Snake

I camped up on a ridge with views of Shasta to the east and Lassen to the south. My feet feel great!

Only 80 miles to my next resupply in Etna.

Thanks for reading!

June 16: Zero day in No Cal with Liz!

We sought breakfast at The Wheelhouse restaurant in Dunsmuir. A pair of sisters from Brisbane, Australia highly recommend it for its food, plus its over 200 board games that you can play! If you are ever in Dunsmuir you should check this place out!

We shared a bfast and played a few games of Carcassonne

We then drove back to Burney Falls State Park to see the famous falls. I had skipped viewing them when I was here earlier because I knew Liz wanted to see them

We then drove to Old Station to visit the “Subway Cave”, a really interesting and dark lava tube. Luckily, the always prepared Liz had an extra flashlight for me to use.

We stopped at the Diner in Old Station for lunch and met up with the two sisters from Brisbane. We are lunch together and probably bored Liz to death discussing the trail.

We returned to Dunsmuir and played another game of Carcassonne before eating at the Brewery.

My feet are feeling much better in the new shoes! The old shoes look OK, but clearly are worn out. So, I’ve decided I am not ready to quit the trail. On to Ashland at least!

Tomorrow, I will return to the PCT and hike into the Castle Crags area.

Thanks for reading!

June 12-15: Burney Falls State Park to Interstate 5 near Dunsmuir (PCT miles 1418 to 1501)

June 12: Burney Falls State Park to Kosk Spring (PCT miles 1418 to 1440)

June 13: Kosk Spring to Deer Creek Spring (PCT miles 1440 to 1460)

June 14: Deer Creek Spring to Squaw Valley Creek (PCT miles 1460 to 1484)

June 15: Squaw Valley Creek to I5 near Dunsmuir (PCT miles 1484 to 1501)

The PCT is divided into sections bounded by major roads or resupply locations (for a list, see https://www.pctmap.net/maps/).

CA Section O is a 100 mile section that heads west from Burney Falls State Park and I5 near Dunsmuir. It is almost entirely in forested areas, except where it is clear-cut logged, but even with the shade and streams it was hot, up and down haul. The trail was poorly maintained and heavily overgrown in many areas

Yes, that is a trail disappearing into the brush. There was also a ton of Poison Oak everywhere in this section. Ugh!

The trees blocked the views, but every now and then I could see forested hillsides

A few rock outcroppings

And Mt Shasta to the North

The stream vegetation was very lush: I was amazed at the size of these plant leaves

And this Leopard Lily

After hiking about 20 miles each day my feet were in a lot of pain. New blisters developed and my arches were very sore. I would start the day feeling OK, but would stumble/stagger into my campsite every night dirty, sweaty, smelly and oh so sore.

Needless to say my mood was not so great and I was strongly considering quitting the trail when I reached Dunsmuir. The thing that kept me going was knowing that my wife, Liz, is driving up Friday to meet me in Dunsmuir.

My mood improved on Friday as I summited the last ridge and viewed the Castle Crags Ridge across the valley

And went for a swim in the Sacramento River

I quickly caught a ride up I5 to Dunsmuir and was dropped off at the local Brewery

Liz arrived a few hours after I did. Things are indeed looking up! We drove to the city of Mount Shasta to do my laundry and delivered a fresh pair of hiking shoes.

I went through my pack and cut about a pound of unused stuff, yes, including that headlamp.

We slept in a smelly hotel room in Dunsmuir, but the bed was comfy. Tomorrow is a zero day to help revitalize my feet.

Thanks for reading!

June 11: North end of Hat Creek Rim to Burney Falls State Park (PCT miles 1397 to 1418)

We awoke to the cows mooing and soon found how close they were. Most of them were frightened of us and made a hasty retreat into the brush, but this one was unfazed by our passing

It was a beautiful morning and we were heading straight towards Mt Shasta

We descended the north end of the rim down towards an area of lakes and streams.

This environment is where you will find Columbine

Men’s Shoes and Cloud Rider were heading into The town of Burney, but I had a resupply package waiting for me at the Burney Mountain Guest Ranch, a PCT friendly place right off the trail in the middle of nowhere. I got a cold soda and a great lunch there, and found my resupply box in the store – can you spot it too?

I hit the trail again headed for Burney Falls State Park where I will camp.

Along the way I found another plant I had not seen before. I think this might be related to something called Loco Weed

I arrived at Burney Falls Park and set up camp in the deserted group camping area. The place was overgrown and I had to use a piece of firewood to scrape out a flat, rock free area to set up my tent.

It had been a long, hot day and I was beat. I knew that the campground market was open until 8pm, and a cold drink and fresh snack would be nice, but that was almost a half mile away! I was just too beat to consider that.

I was asleep by 7pm. At around 8pm a large family group arrived in a couple of cars and set up camp, cooked dinner and made their camp fire. They were quite boisterous, but I hoped they would calm down soon. At 10pm they were still quite loud, so I pulled out the headlamp that I have carried the last 300 miles, but never needed to use, to shine at them to remind them they are not alone. The lamp was dead, of course, so I walked over and asked them to keep it down. They apologized and were very quiet after that.

Sleep at last!

Thanks for reading!