Mile reached: 1544.2 (+37.0)
High: I finally hiked through the Castle Crags
Low: Hearing that the Klamathon Fire had closed trail in Oregon and was threatening the border crossing
With a big sun exposed climb ahead, I knew I needed to get started early. So, I did shortly after 5 and passed a number of hikers still in tents. The smoke persisted and largely obscured views, but at least it wasn’t hot yet!
The Castle Crags were stunning and the largely treeless trail offered sustained views. However, even with great views it was more than a little frustrating to keep heading west. Standing just a few miles north was Mount Eddy, which the trail skirts around. Though, it would take almost the entire day to reach it, and sometimes I wished it could just head straight there. Interestingly, this marks the deviation of the PCT from the Cascades into the Pacific Coast Ranges. The familiar volcanic rock from the the past week was already disappearing. Stunningly, the mountains were also substantially drier than those just a few miles east of I-5.
I only ran into two other thru-hikers the entire day. Though, there were a smattering of weekend backpackers (their packs are so large!). Later in the day, I encountered tons of deer that didn’t seem to be too shy of humans. This made me wonder if hunting was restricted in this area or if it was too difficult to get to.
I had intended to camp near a small creek at the end of the day, but a large group of weekend backpackers had set up there taking all the spaces. It seemed like a funny place to camp since the location was only a few miles from a paved road and not particularly scenic, but whatever. I filled up on water and found an excellent campsite high up on a saddle. Bonus! There were no mosquitoes, just a few ants and flys.