Tuesday, June 05, 2018 – 11.70 miles
1068 metres/3505 feet of climbing today. I missed Umbrella Spring, thinking that the water sign was related to the Castle Creek tributary (there’s 0.7 miles between them, so I must have been moving quickly for once), and was careful with my water until I reached the next source. North Fork Springs was running right over the trail. It was cool to see blooming pitcher plants, which crowd the slopes along water sources and have flowers that look like acorns.
Of course I was also excited for the views and the absence of poison oak and ticks.
I met a handful of hikers, including Rabid Rabbit, who was pounding out impressive miles despite having tendonitis in both legs. I don’t trust zero heel drop shoes for the Achilles tendon, though I do wear them for day hiking. He told me about a fire in the vicinity of Mt. Shasta, but it sounds okay – small and 80% contained.
I was aiming for a campsite that eTrails labels as ‘Castle Crags View Camp’. I got there and it had a spectacular view of both Castle Crags and Queen Shasta. While I was trying to decide whether to pitch my tent on a spot with an unimpeded view of Shasta/Castle Crags or a spot with an impeded view of Castle Crags but views of Shasta and the pond below, I saw a big bear lumber into the pond and swim out from the shore. I’ve only seen a bear once before when hiking, a smallish black bear that paid me zero attention as I backed away making vowel sounds, so it was nice to see a bear in a natural setting (no bear jam with tourists trying to position themselves with the bear in photographs) from a distance that would alarm neither the bear nor myself. I definitely wasn’t going to camp there though, so I continued a few miles down the trail and had a cold supper. The Ursack is hung far away tonight.