Day 71: Poison Oak and Rattlesnakes and Bears, Oh My!

Mile reached: 1485.6 (+40.7)

High: I met someone who is fast, but he was unable to catch me while moving on trail.

Low: So much poison oak encroaching the trail 🙁

Tiny fawns seen: 2

Animals chased down the trail: 2

From the start I had planned to do a big day. I also ran out of water in the middle of the night. So, I dragged myself out of the comfort of my quilt, packed up camp, and was off to find the next spring. Flowing across the trail at liters per minute, it was a welcome sight. There would be several dry stretches throughout the day punctuated by springs a tenth of a mile or so off trail, so not having to detour was appreciated.

With water in hand I ate breakfast while enjoying close up views of Mount Shasta. Around this time, I also found “Scooter”. Unfortunately, he wasn’t feeling well and thought he might limp into Mt. Shasta.

It’s unclear to me why people complain about Northern California!
View down south back toward Burney

Throughout the morning, the trail seemed to make an interminable traverse. But, by lunchtime it finally the aptly named Deer Springs. As I began to descend, I ran into a three point buck on the trail, which I proceeded to chase down trail for about half a mile before he finally jumped into the bushes. I also saw several more deer and a mother with two adorable fawns.

The traverse under Grizzly Peak
The buck, which kept running 100 yards down the trail
The bear!

The descent continued though the afternoon. At lower elevations the forest became very wet and thick with vegetation that was sometimes obscuring the trail. There was also an enormous amount of poison oak, so much so that at points I was trying to squeeze in between it.

One of the big landmarks of the day was the McCloud river and it’s bridge. I spent a little while there collecting water and eating, when “Tatonka” showed up. “Baywatch” had hiked with him, so I’d heard of him by reputation and how fast he was. I thought it’d be fun to let him go ahead and see how long it took to catch him. But, he was talking forever eating, so I set off wondering if he could catch me. Might I no longer be able to say that no one has passed me while I’ve been hiking?

This was one of the cooler bridges.

Almost immediately out of the gate I ran into a family that had meant to hike a loop, but instead hiked 12 miles away from their car. I took a few minutes to show them where they were and suggest they ask some fishermen a mile away for help. Hopefully that worked out.

After 13 miles of hiking from the bridge, the sun was setting and “Tatonka” was nowhere in sight. Success! So, I collected some water and hiked a little further to a road crossing where I camped for the night.

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