Day 69, July 2nd
Start: camp at 1,482
End: mount Shasta city via interstate 5, mile 1,507
Miles hiked: 25
It never cooled off last night. I just slept in my clothes, as it was way to hot to put the quilt over me. There were also Mosquitos everywhere, buzzing into the net all night. It’s so random when they show up. We weren’t really close to any water source, so I didn’t expect them. We were also up pretty high. Luckily they haven’t been consistent through this section, just appearing in spurts.
Diver showed up last night around 11pm, yelling and singing loudly as he didn’t want anything stalking him while he nigh hiked. He had stayed longer at the trail magic, having two burgers and a lot of brews. Yet he’s up and out of camp before were even moving around. Another half hour and we’re on the trail as well.
It’s still hot, but we’re under a canopy of trees, and the forest cover really helps me regulate my body temperature. It’s a beautiful forest through rolling hills. A cruiser trail, as we would call it. The miles are easy, even the uphills. Everything is graded nicely, and the trail is soft. It’s great hiking.
We pass a nice bridge at squaw creek and carrot jumps in the water off the big rocks. I sit up above on the cliff and eat as much food as I can. Trail mix, fruit snacks, sour skittles, jerky. Everything that’s left over, as this is our last day before resupply at Mount Shasta city. I’ve been setting my sights on today, as we have planned on taking a zero here since we left Sierra city, some 300 miles back. We said we wouldn’t zero until we got there, and today is the day.
We have one more big climb, but it seems easy. Both carrot and I are really hiking strong, despite the heat. Being under the shadows of the large trees really makes a difference. I catch some views of mount Shasta, and it’s hard to see it. The several hot days in a row are really adding up! The air is thick, and it just looks so hazy everywhere. I hope it cools off soon.
As we get to the small back road before highway 5, a small pick up truck pulls up to us. There’s an older lady driving, with three good sized dogs all packed in the passenger seat.
“You hikers going to Castella?” She asks in a kind voice.
We hop in the bed of her truck and take off 3 miles down back roads to castella. It’s the opposite way of mount Shasta city, but I have to go there as I sent a resupply ahead to the gas station there.
When we get dropped off we find Bigfoot and diver there. Divers got a half gallon of ice cream and a six pack of root beer. As he opens the ice cream, he explains that he’s going to eat some then pour in the root beer to make a float. He’s smarter than I thought. Like, super wise. I’m jealous of his idea, and the fact that he can eat so much. He finishes it within minutes, adding three root beers to the box, one at a time. When he finishes, he’s got half the ice cream in his beard.
“I wanted a gallon, damnit! Guess I’ve got to go for seconds now!” He yells, in his thick Boston accent.
Carrot gets us a ride to mount Shasta with two younger guys, locals. Awesome! We cram into his little old honda and head 15 miles down I-5. First thing the driver does is open his backpack and start drinking a strong mix drink. He and his buddy pass it back and forth taking turns drinking and refilling it. I get extremely uncomfortable in the back. My seatbelt is on. Check. I make sure my doors unlocked. Check. As we drive they tell us of how they’ve been tubing all day to avoid the heat. Smart guys on that call. However with tubing they were clearly drinking. And now I’m in a car with them driving, looking behind to talk to me and swerving on the road going 90 to mount Shasta city.
At one point the driver is looking at me for a solid 5 seconds, and I see a semi merging into our lane.
“Dude! A truck!!!” I blurt out and point ahead frantically. He corrects well, but damn, that was way way wayyyy too scary for me.
“He’s fine man, I wouldn’t be in the car with him if he wasn’t ok.” Says the passenger, who is also clearly inebriated.
Just get me out of this car, I think to myself. This is so messed up.
They eventually get us to Shasta. They were only coming into town to get some Thai food. They’re real friendly, but man, I don’t think I’ve ever been that scared for my life in a long time. My nerves are on edge. Carrot tells me that when she was putting our packs in the car the driver told her that he was intoxicated, and asked if she still wanted the ride. She thought he was just being honest that he had had a drink or two, not that he was flat out drunk. Worst ride of my life. Never get in the car with anyone who’s been drinking… Ever.
We quickly do our laundry and shower. I watch a black streak run down the tub as I wash my body. It feels so good to be alive, I think to myself.
We get dinner at the black bear diner. A huge turkey burger for me, and a malt. I love malts. I don’t care if you think they’re for old people, I love them.
Tomorrow we’ll zero here. Our friends are all a half day behind, and tell us they’ll be in town by mid afternoon. I’m excited to see them all. Coughee, sheriff, Guthrie, Bearclaw, dirt monger, Mac, not a chance. It’s been since Chester. Just doesn’t feel right being ahead of not a chance. She should always be ahead of us, crushing miles. I have a feeling she’ll be back ahead of us soon, and all will be right in the world.