HELLO MT SHASTA
PCT DAY 85: Mile 1438 – Mile 1461.2
Thursday July 7, 2016: 23.2 Miles (37.1km)
Mt Shasta is getting closer and closer. This morning we wound our way along a steep ridge leading to a dense green forest interspersed with logged areas. Mt Shasta was illuminated by the morning sun. Birds were singing, the air was cool. It was perfect hiking conditions.
Once we entered the forest the views of the mountain disappeared. As I hiked alone through the silent forest, I looked around and realised that I was in freaking Northern California hiking the PCT. How lucky was I to be here. Hammer was back behind me deep in his own thoughts. I reflected on our life events that brought us to this point. We are indeed fortunate to have made it. And it is because of what we have been through that the experience now is so much more powerfully meaningful. It is not just a hike to me, it is a celebration of being healthy and fit, an affirmation of life and being alive. It brings to mind the philosopher Kirgergaard’s observation ” Life must be lived forward but can only be understood looking back”. Life is grand indeed.
Around 10am we reached Moosehead Creek at mile 1445. Our next water was in 14 miles so we took this opportunity to cook an early lunch and load up on water. Although, it is never too early for lunch on the trail. Loaded with water we headed up the trail. It was getting warmer and the trail was more exposed. It was hard work but once we got to the top of the climb at just over 6,000 feet we had magnificent views north towards what we think may be Mt Etna way off in the distance and Mt Shasta to our right. The views were worth the climb. We found that we had phone service here, so we stopped to update the blog and catch up on news. Seemed a shame to be absorbed by the phone while Mt Shasta sparkled in front of us. An hour later and we were ready to move on.
The trail stayed at a relatively high elevation as it wound it’s way around a steep mountainside. A narrow, flower lined trail on a steep mountainside with beautiful distant vistas made for an enjoyable couple of hours of hiking. Reminded us of some of the desert sections.
From here we started to descend to Deer Creek where we stopped for dinner and to filter water. We camped a couple of miles further along where the trail crossed Deer Creek further downstream. I never thought I would ever again rest easy next to the sound of rushing water, but the mental scars from the Sierra must be healing. The sound here does not fill me dread, it is much more gentle and soothing.
I’m so glad to hear of your experience of extraordinary openness, affirmation and appreciation in the NorCAL section of the PCT, with the magic pull of Mt. Shasta no doubt playing some part.
I can’t believe that another hiker way back in the desert told us to skip NorCal as he said it was ‘boring’. It has certainly added to our appreciation of the great diversity of this enormous State. And thanks again for the Dunsmuir recommendations. All have been spot on.
Someone told you NorCal was “boring”?! Glad you didn’t listen. I think you will find the area to have its own sort of magic. I love your thoughts and agree with your point of view about gratitude. Take care. I continue to love each of your posts and the beautiful photography.
I know, glad we did not listen. We had no intention of skiping any sections
Hammer ‘n Corky of the PCT
In my wild erratic fancy, visions came to me of Hammer ‘n Corky
Gone a-hiking ‘along the PCT’ where the boldest hikers go
As Hammer strikes the trail, Corky strolls behind him grinning,
For their life has pleasures that we townfolk never know.
And the Trail has friends to meet them, and their kindly voices greet them
In the murmur of the breezes and the icy river bars,
And they see the vision splendid of the snow-capped peaks extended,
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.
I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city
Through the open window floating, spreads it’s foulness over all
And I rather fancy that I’d like to swap with Hammer ‘n Corky,
Like to take a turn at hiking where the seasons come and go so easily,
While they faced the round eternal of the cashbook and the journal-
But I doubt they’d suit the office, Hammer ‘n Corky, of ‘The PCT’.
Thanks to Banjo Patterson – first published 1889, not much has changed.
Alan, your masterfully adaptation of Banjos poem brought tears to our eyes. Thank you. Shame you couldn’t join us for some if the desert section.