Mile 1498.7-1526.7 (28.0)
Last night, my train arrived in Dunsmuir at 1am. A taxi brought another hiker and I back to the trailhead. We found flat spots next to the forest road, away from the highway, and fell asleep quickly.
I woke up groggy and bone-tired. A pounding headache was my morning companion. Still, it felt good to be back in the woods. The weather was lovely, cool and sunny with occasional cloud cover. As I gained elevation, the trees grew thinner and shrubs crowded the trail. Here I saw my second rattlesnake of Northern California.
I powered up the big climb of the day to an impressive ridgeline. The slopes were coated in green. In the distance mountain silhouettes stacked on top of each other and glowing a rich and ghostly blue. Deer scampered about, not too bothered by a lone hiker. A fat cloud sat in front of the sun for hours and kept me from overheating.
The ridge was dry, so I rationed my water and didn’t eat too much on the 12 mile stretch between springs. It left me with low energy when I needed it most. In the afternoon I started dragging, any early rush having subsided. I counted down miles until finding the clear and flowing spring on a hillside.
I walked on but stopped quickly. 0.2 miles beyond the spring was a remarkable campsite situated on a saddle and looking out at Mt. Shasta. I am not tired of looking at these majestic lone peaks, still clad in snow. I set up my tent and finally allowed my body the rest it had been craving all day.