Saturday, June 23, 2018 – 13.80 miles
Since I didn’t cook last night, I decided to cook this morning. I made a whole pot (mug) of the dead weight (steel cut oats). I feel antsy taking the time to cook in the morning – it’s like taking a rest without having done anything.
Pleasant walking today through forest and lush meadows filled with flowers and butterflies. Good views of Shasta and Mt. Ashland.
Clouds of pollen floated through the air, settling as a thin ochre coating on the forest floor. I was relieved to finally get cell reception in the afternoon, since I had forgotten to give my parents my itinerary before leaving Seiad Valley and my mother is a worrier. It turns out that she thought I had been stabbed by EJ since I had mentioned him using a hammock and that seemed strange to her. I’ll make sure to never mention anyone cowboy camping to her.
I kept getting startled today. A backpacker got me twice, coming up behind me quietly and saying ‘I’m behind you’ right in my ear, then a runner training for an upcoming local race got me once. I yelped the first two times but was apparently yelped out by the third time since I just started violently. SAY I’M BEHIND YOU WHEN YOU ARE STILL A REASONABLE DISTANCE BEHIND. Even better, click your poles or kick some rocks or something. Kick a boulder if you’re a serial startler.
I also met a SOBO backpacker who asked me how far away the border was. I gave him a guesstimate since I thought he was asking casually, but he then mentioned that he was hoping to get there by nightfall and didn’t have a map. In retrospect, maybe I should have questioned him about his plans, since the trail in northern California is not well-marked and I had met four hikers who had gotten confused at junctions without signage. Two of them had strayed from the trail at the same place, I think near Man Eaten Lake, and ended up trying to hike around/over snowfields on the old PCT. To be clear, the trail is a piece of cake to navigate if you have a method of navigation and use it at junctions, but you need something. I tend to assume though that other hikers know what they’re doing, so… hopefully I won’t hear any stories about a missing man…
I camped in the forest a short distance before Mt. Ashland Campground.