7/6/17 – Porcupine Lake

Day 74
Miles: 1,508.65 to 1,528.81

Total miles hike hiked: 944.96
Today brought a promise of excellent views, though it meant that we would have to climb 2,500 feet to the top of the hill first thing in the morning. We set the alarm for 4:00 a.m. but it was still pitch black in the forest where we camped and so we slept 20 more minutes. The timing was right. We had just enough light to start hiking when we were all packed.

The hill was not all that bad. It was uphill the entire way but the elevation gain stretched across 3.5 miles and without the heat it was easy going. 

Castle Crags


First we got a glimpse of Castle Crags, later the entire rock formation revealed itself. I was hoping the trail would take us closer but it skirted the bottom and circled around the valley, taking us higher up on the other side.

Shasta showed up there. And other peaks. And view into the valley was pretty awesome too. 
The trail mellowed after the initial climb but there still was more up then down today and once we broke from the forest, we walked on sharp rocks for miles and miles.

Shasta


The sun eventually rose and walking was no longer as easy. Once in a while we got refreshed by a light breeze and it made a lot of difference but water was scarce on the trail today and not being able to dunk our hats and shirts, we both eventually overheated and seeked refuge in the very little shade we could find.

First Bear Grass of the year


Our next water source was a spring, just couple miles before Porcupine Lake where we planned to camp and the timing was once again right. When we got there, our bottles were empty.

Rocky scenery


Porcupine Lake lies 0.2 miles off trail. It’s a little climb, 400 feet on that short distance but the lake is pretty and sites comfortable, and only teo more parties were camping when we arrived. Two more tents rose quickly after ours but still the lake was much less busy than I expected. 

Peaceful evening at Porcupine Lake


The alarm will wake us at 4:30 a. m. tomorrow. The weather is not giving us break and we’re hoping to get another good head start on miles when it’s still cool outside. 

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