PCT DAY 86: Mile 1461.2 – Mile 1487

Friday July 8, 2016:  25.8 Miles (41.3 km)

We are about 200 miles away from finishing the Californian section of the hike. Seems so unreal, images of different sections are flashing through my mind. It has been so huge, so much more diverse then we ever imagined.  It is  easy to see why some people quit when they reach the border. We are looking forward to reaching the end of California because Oregon is waiting, like a gift that’s still wrapped waiting to be opened. 
We camped in a lovely lush green valley by Deer Creek in the Trinity Shasta National Forest. As we hiked out this morning it was fairly dark as the sky was overcast. The trail was soft with leaf litter. Combined with the coolness  of the forest it made for perfect hiking conditions. 

Throughout the rest of the day we wound our way up and down countless creek gullies. Each was more lush and green than the other. Today could easily have been called 50 shades of green,  as we saw little of any other colour. Each time we rounded a bend a trail section just like the one we finished would reveal itself. It was like sliding doors all day. It seemed like we would never be able to get to the end.

Late in the afternoon the silence of the forest was disrupted by a loud popping noise, followed by more. My first thoughts were gunfire, Hammer thought firecrackers. It was not far away from us and I was certain it was gunfire. Cautiously we continued on.  We were approaching a dirt road and could see someone standing by an all terrain  vehicle. I was going to blow my whistle to let them know we were approaching but he had seen us. And this is how we met Mac. He was just reloading his gun clip when we arrived.  He was just out to have some target practice and was shooting at a plastic bottle on the road. We chatted to him for a while and learnt a little bit about his background. He was a genuinely nice guy.   He is a local of Redding and has been coming to this area for 40-50 years.  It would have been nice to chat longer and hear some more stories about the area. We parted company and as soon as we were back on trail the gunfire continued. 

Hard to believe after walking over so many creeks today that late in the day we had a 10 mile dry stretch. We filtered water at Squaw Creek and hiked up a nasty hill for 4 miles to reach our campsite.  The clouds were gathering and rain threatened. It did not matter we were soaked in sweat by the time we made camp.