7/5/17 – Afternoon Heat
Miles: 1,498.65 to 1,508.65
Total miles hiked: 924.80
Chances were slim that after yesterday’s 4th of July celebration we would get a trail angel drive us to the trailhead first thing in the morning and so we slept in as well and when we got up at 8:00 a.m. we walked to Mount Shasta Pastry for breakfasts. We were lightly disappointed to find a sign on the door announcing it would be closed today and tomorrow but it’s nice to see a company that gives employees few days off to go and play. Seven Suns Cafe was only a short walk away and we end up feeding our bellies there.
After breakfast we send a text to Tony, the friendly highway patrol officer who drove us from Dunsmuir, and made an arrangement for him to pick us up at noon. It was later than we hoped for but we knew he worked last night and deserved a rest. Later he told us he was one of the officers directing traffic in the lake area where the fireworks took place and that it took them 2.5 hours to get all the cars out. He mention that was actually a good time, when 4th of July falls on a weekend, even more people come out and sometimes the line of cars is as much as five hours long.
At noon we were back on trail. We made a rookie mistake of not checking the trailhead intersection properly and when we saw a sign in the trees with PCT logo on it, we assumed we were supposed to climb a little washout right above it. Maybe on the past it was the trail, there definitely was a trail at the top of the washout but it became very overgrown within few minutes of walking it. The trail we needed followed big gravel road for a while before turning into the woods.
Starting at noon meant we were sweating right from the beginning. The trail did not hesitate to throw us on a climb as well, as soon as we hit the forest.
We stayed in the trees most of us he way, only occasionally the trail broke out and afforded us a view. The views were best shortly after reaching Castle Crags State Park. The large rock towered above us and though we only see the very top peeking from behind the trees, it was an impressive view.
We are not used to see many other trails but here a whole net of them criss crossed the forest and we had to pay attention to make sure we take a correct turn at every intersection. The signs were clear and it was easy to follow PCT which at most junctions went uphill while the other trail usually descended.
We weren’t quite sure how far we wanted to go. In the end we picked a site 10 miles from the trailhead. It was one of the last sites before a solid climb we’ve heard is all in a very open terrain and so we pitched our tent, ate dinner, and set the alarm for 4:00 a.m. so that we can beat the sun.