Posts Tagged ‘Castle Crags’

I only made it a mile or less out of town from Dunsmuir when I meant to do six.  The problem all stemmed from Yogi claiming a laundromat was open in Dunsmuir.  I had planned to take lunch from the grocery store as well as my resupply and hang out there, doing my laundry, eating lunch, sorting food, and of course charging the electronics like the all important and essential iPod.  Yet, as this wonderful establishment was closed for business, I ended up eating and sorting food near a kids playground since that was the only public place with shade to do such things.  Of course, everyone walking in the vicinity avoided looking over because I apparently looked homeless.  The only person who stopped was Pacemaker who I enjoyed catching up with.

That being said, I still needed somewhere to sit with a plug, so I went to find a bar and found a brewery.  I quickly glanced at Yogi’s notes and she mentions no brewery!  What a curious thought.  Priorities, Yogi!

I plopped down next to an outlet and began charging electronics while drinking some good, refreshing pale ales.  Not too long after, Splinter and Inspector Gadget showed up to do the same thing, so I caught up with them and several beers later, we somehow managed to yogi a ride from a super awesome old hippie in a mini van.

After drinking another tall boy at the trailhead, we moved out hiking.  It didn’t take long for the recent lack of sleep to kick in and I camped in a super wide part of the trail near some power lines and watched the meteors until I passed out.

The morning didn’t work out so well either since I accidentally fell back to sleep at 4:30am instead of getting up and barely made it out of my sleeping bag an hour later.  Two and a half miles up, I found Splinter next to the first water and Gadget camped on the bridge of the second water a third of a mile later.

The trail just went up and down, up and down in small, rather pointless elevation gain and loss around some foothills catching lots of water.  Several thousand feet above us lay the Castle Crags, these giant rock formations that looked eerily like an old fashioned castle.

At the base of the climb out, where I meant to get, I found Stonewall camped there who I hadn’t seen since Ziggy and the Bear’s house (mile 210).  I totally didn’t recognize him at first through the tent bug netting.  I got water there, checked out the maps, ate a snack, and washed my socks downstream since I did not get laundry in town…I must stink!

The first bit of the climb wasn’t too bad.  I passed over Disappearing Creek which seemed to have disappeared since it was bone dry.  I thought I was taking a little much on the water anyway since I had 2.5 liters for 6 miles, but I was thirsty that morning.

It was a damn good thing I carried that much water since as soon as the steep switchbacks started up the ridge instead of just contouring up, the trees went away with all the shade!  I sucked down so much water it was ridiculous.  For four miles, the trail just shot up, up, up.  As I got further up, I noticed whoever built the trail could have had us contour half a mile further and then follow a creek up a bowl instead of the really exposed, dry, steep ridge I was climbing.  I could see the heat waves and started to feel a wee bit delirious like back in the desert.  My brain felt like it was frying inside my skull and my throat became drier and drier despite drinking lots of water.  I was also sooooaked in sweat.

The second half of the climb, I could pretty much only go half a mile up and then needed to sit in the shade just to cool off; it seemed like I was just overheating pretty badly.  When I finally got to the spring, I sprawled out under the only tree.  The spring was dry on trail, but 25 yards up or so, it trickled well enough.

I ate lunch and dozed for almost three hours since I apparently was not handling the heat that day.  I left a little after 4pm when it was still way too hot, but still considerably better than it had been.  A mile later, I hit the last water for 15 miles and loaded up from a pool 15 feet up since it was just mud going across the trail.  I was glad I had the Sawyer Squeeze since it was barely flowing.

I trucked along, but stopped early because the heat had zapped all my energy.  I only made it 18 miles or so and passed out right after Inspector Gadget came and camped.  I saw only a few meteors before my eyes refused to obey my brain and closed for sleep.

The next day, I woke up early and cranked out a 30 mile day thanks to Crystal Light Energy (i.e. drink mix crack) that has caffeine and B vitamins.  The day just went up and down, up and down.  I ran into Scooter and Green Machine that day, but not many other thru hikers.  I stopped for a nice two hour break at Deadfall Lake where I took a nice dip in my clothes to scrub them off a wee bit since I lacked laundry in Dunsmuir.

I made it to a nice wide saddle to camp that evening and managed to have some 3G, so naturally I used the internet for a bit only to find out that AsABat, the wonderful water report guy had passed away of natural causes while hiking.  That water report made the desert so much more bearable.

As I woke up early and packed up, I heard something, but didn’t know what it was.  Right as I left, I heard, “Hey Veggie!”

Startled, I whirled around to see Inspector Gadget off under a tree who had night hiked in after I had fallen asleep.

I knew I needed to pull miles again since I only managed 18 out of Dunsmuir and that disrupted my plan.  I woke up after stumbling down the trail in the dark when I drank that magical crystal light energy.  A few miles down, I passed Splinter sprawled out right next to the trail and he groggily said someone had super late night hiked past him.  I found out later it was G who pulled back to back 45 mile days in order to hitch back and climb Shasta.

I tried something new that day.  I only hiked about 5 miles, then took a 20-30 minute break instead of hiking more and taking longer breaks.  It worked out pretty well and I stayed hydrated and well fed since I resupplied while I was hungry, I had too much food.  I had a few sit downs and eat-as-much-as-possible sessions to lessen the weight.

Janet hiked on and off with me all day and then I hiked about five miles past her or so that evening.  I managed 32 that night and only stopped because I saw Stonewall and Taka, ended up chatting, then the tiredness set in.

We had a mere 19 miles to town from there which I managed grumpily before 2pm trying to make my friend Allie’s birthday.  I was really only grumpy for the pointless elevation change and the annoying extra rocks in the middle of the trail.  Overall, it was fine though.  I did get to see Snow Turtle and Aggassi at one of the yellow jacket infested water sources.  All of the water sources recently have had an absurd number of bees hanging around it and several people have reported stings in sections o and p.  As I got to the road, I ran into Twisted and Creep who I hadn’t met before.  Some trail runners gave us a ride into town after the three of us waited an hour and had three cars pass us, all of which stopped to make sure we saw how full their cars were and said sorry they couldn’t pick us up.


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