Before heading out on this journey, I did an absurd amount of research, including reading books, blogs and watching videos. Of the negative comments regarding the PCT, two normal ones were regarding the Southern California and Northern California sections. In SoCal the desert was a necessity to get to the Sierra’s and complete the while trail, despite it being hot and untenable for human inhabitants (most people, including myself, loved it). Many people quit in NorCal, citing the return of the heat and lack of water. This is true, it is hot and water has become more scarce again, but to say it’s boring or not beautiful in its own right is patently false.
I left Burney with Deep South at mid-day with the intention of just going 8 miles to Burney Falls State Park, keeping this as a rest day. A mile in, we stopped at the “Wild Bird Cache”, a unique on-trail oasis created by locals Randy and Kathy who knew nothing of the trail until they moved nearby a few years ago.
After hanging out for 2.5 hours, we headed o to Burney Falls, where I failed to take a single picture of pretty magnificent waterfalls….sorry about that…
The next morning, miles had to be made as T-Rex would be expecting me 83 more miles away in Shasta 2.5 days from now. With water shortages in this area, I was heading 29.3 miles to Moosehead creek, but had plenty of ups and downs in between.
With the heat and climbing, I was focused on making the distance, but the following 31.1 mile day would offer many more scenic options.
The third day out of Burney was difficult, but at this point on the trail, endurance is a luxury in abundance. If your goal is to hike up mountains, carrying 30 pounds, without losing a step…backpack 20-30 miles a day for 3 months….it’s a foolproof exercise strategy to get in shape.
After the normal up and down rollercoaster, I headed down to Ash Camp and the McCloud River for a swim.
Deep South and I hiked another 5 miles straight uphill (where I think I sweat more than any other evening in my entire life) and camped for the night. One more day of hiking and I would be reunited with the most fearsome hunter of the Jurassic and my lovely wife, T-Rex.
I got started early, climbing 600 feet right away, heading mostly down and then up a fun 2100 foot climb (with a 1.6 mile side trail due to navigational error), but I was rewarded with half a mile of ridgewalking that offered amazing views of Shasta and Castle Crags.
After hiking down, it was as simple as getting a ride to see my wife in Shasta. Our journey resumes as we have a hard date to be in Ashland by August 2nd…more news to follow on that development….
For those needing a quick summary, here is a start: