July 18, 2016
I get up and realize all the tents are gone and everyone got an early start. I slept well and they were quiet because I didn’t hear anyone pack up and leave this morning. I still can’t seem to get out of camp until 7:45, which is about 2 hours later than I would like to be starting. My morning routine could use some rethinking, but I do like a warm breakfast and a cup coffee to get me going.
I was feeling great, like a new person from a couple days ago. It was my time to shine and try and get into Dunsmuir by tomorrow afternoon. I had only scheduled 18 miles for today and 17 miles tomorrow to get me back to I-5. But I was 9 miles behind and knew I could cut that down by walking more than 18.
I got back into a decent pace that I had set yesterday afternoon and started knocking off the miles. Today was a busy day, especially around Deadfall Lakes. Many thru hikers coming down the trail and many day hikers heading up to the lakes.
I take a nice break at Deadfall and strip down and take a plunge in the lake. I rarely take advantage of the beautiful swim opportunities that I pass throughout the days. This is a part of my new strategy to enjoy myself and take advantage of my time in the wilderness. I make myself a nice lunch as I dry out in the sun next to a beautiful lake. I could see bringing the family up here for a nice weekend camping trip in the future.
I get into another great pace and start making some great headway. I get 18 miles in over the next 7 hours to finish a 27 mile day. I pass the 500 mile mark north of Sonora Pass and approaching 700 total miles hiked.
My goal was to reach a campsite that I have read is one of the best on the trail. It overlooks Castle Crags and Mt Shasta. I walk into the campsite at 7:30 just a few minutes after a NOBO thru hiker stops for the day. We chat a little bit as we set up camp and she kindly emails me a picture of the sunset because my phone and camera both run out of battery within the last 15 minutes of making it to this spot.
I watch the sunset cast is glow onto Shasta and a full moon rising behind it. A fantastic way to spend my last night on the trail for this year’s sections.
I manage to make up all the miles I was behind at the start of the morning. I am just 17 miles from Castella and will get into town tomorrow afternoon.
40 thru hikers, 6 section hikers, 4 weekend campers, 12 day hikers.