Mile reached: 1507.2 (+21.6 + 1.2 bonus)
High: I finally caught “Poseidon”!
Low: Getting a hitch back to the trail proved too difficult, and we had to hire someone.
Being close to town and tight on time, I got moving as soon as I woke up. The trail would make a small climb and then drop down to I-5 along the Sacramento River. This would mean that I could go into town and resupply! Oddly, the trail has been making a giant semicircle around Shasta, and it’s a little frustrating to not understand why. Perhaps the mountains to the north of Shasta are so dry and hot that going straight north would be brutal. Oh well.
The first thing I noticed as I began to climb up the ridge was that it smelled like campfire. Since I couldn’t see much in the trees, I though maybe there was a big group down below with a couple campfires. But, as I entered a clearing from which I could look toward Shasta, I discovered that I could barely see it. There was so much smoke everywhere!
On the bright side, most of the poison oak was gone, and the trail wasn’t overgrown. I even passed a few day hikers and weekend backpackers heading into the mountains. A few miles from the freeway, I stopped in the side of a logging road to make breakfast. While I was eating, “Poseidon” appeared! Apparently, I had passed him in his tent the previous evening.
We caught up for a few minutes, since we hadn’t seen each other for over 600 miles. He mentioned that there was another thru-hiker coming up behind him and that he really didn’t like him. “Poseidon” wished that he would never see him again, but unfortunately they hike about the same pace. As he was saying this, “Tatonka” rounded the corner. I could barely restrain my laughter, because when I met him the previous day the first thing I thought was how much he reminded me of “Conflicted”.
I let “Poseidon” go and tried to keep “Tatonka” occupied for a few minutes. Eventually, he continued on, and I followed shortly after. Within an hour or so, I hit the road, crossed a bridge over the Sacramento River, and found “Poseidon” sitting next to the on-ramp to I-5. A few minutes later, some local fisherman came by and gave us both a ride to Dunsmuir.
Dunsmuir is a weird little town that happens to have a surprisingly good brewery. We had lunch there and then ran various errands before trying to return to the trail. It turned out to be much more difficult than expected to hitch back. We even had some professional hippies that we found at the gas station giving us pointers with no luck. So, we had to hire someone to drive us back. Once back on trail, we only did a few miles before dark.