Sunday, 26 July 2015

Coming near to the end of North California ... But will my trail shoes make it?

26/7/15 mad dash to Etna, over 7000ft assent, burnout, it was a Sunday (therefore a huge risk that i wouldn't get a lift into Etna), 32 miles after the last few days of 30 miles per day..... But heck - some you win others you lose. Needless to say, I arrived at the trail head at 6.15pm, picked up by lovely horseman 'Bob' by 6.18pm and i was eating apple rings washed down with, yep, you've guessed it : Fosters before 7pm. Etna is a very quaint, friendly, traditional all american town - with one street. A night camping at the rv park meant that i could wash my clothes, charge my phones and get the all important chocolate (and Fosters) - that will get me to Seiad valley in two days time. 

A funny thing happened today, as I was having a brief lunch stop - on mile 16ish .... In the middle of nowhere; there was a jeep with a male driver with a couple of kids in the back messing around on the hills. They passed me slowly enough for us to exchange a brief hello, looks like great fun and no, i wasn't attached to the group of kids further up the trail that were chanting songs. Now, blow me down with a feather, but just by chance, i was late with stopping the drier (laundrette attached to the rv park and garage) so had agreed to pop over to the garage lady when i was done; and the man at the counter paying for his petrol recognised me immediately and said 'oh you and my jeep on the trail!' Of all the places, coincidences and timings that came together at that point. Small world! (Moreso as i had been wearing my hat earlier too) 

25/7/15 30 miles on the nose .... It was hard after yesterdays cruise on the flat, non stony, well kept paths. Today the pm was filled with stoney hills - steep and relentless ( so pleased that my trail shoes are falling to bits and have a wafer thin sole!) Lovely views of the hills (especially my stopping place) ... But with views = tripping over + stubbing toes!

I saw yet another rattlesnake today that luckily crossed my path without hanging around. It was the biggest i have seen yet, a huge green and sand coloured with a huge rattle! Uggg!

24/7/15 best path to date. Perfect trail, no fallen trees, large stones and the views were spectacular and consistent. A perfect day, 

23/7/15 i stopped in castella after only 7 miles in. I was going to take a nero and stay at the campsite but it was only myself there. So i showeredand washed my clothes, stocked up and headed back on trail (after forgetting my charger! Doh!) ... 9 miles of straight up - luckily the mountain dew (drink) helped my up the mountain... 
My resting point was on the edge of the cliff ... So pleased that i have a bivvi as otherwise i would have had to stop at mile 5! So 17 miles with the major hill mostly out of the way- should make tomorrow easier 😀

22/7/15 32 miles today with 10500+ ascent ... And i have to say that i felt fine. I think that the key to the miles is how many miles can be done before lunch. Today it was 20 miles (with 7 miles down hill and a 4500 ascent) - so it just made the second half a lot easier. 

Lie in tomorrow as with the milage done over the last few days its only 4 miles to the pit stop (with shower).  I am forced to take it easy as the campsite opens at 9.  Currently debating how long the pit stop will be .... But I will need to be fit for the 20 mile ascent (oh dear!!) getting out of castella campsite. 

Nonetheless, lets hope my bivvi survives the night unlike last night. A mouse/deer/chipmunk/ squirrel nibbled through my bivvi to get through my now ex-waterproof food bag 😁 ... Fixed now with duck tape  .... And an understanding why, halfway through last night, ants started to come in my bivvi!! 

21/7/15 a slow and steady 27 miles up and down the hills. I have to say that yesterdays 29 took its toll. Deer, lots of deer last night and on the trail. These lovely to look at animals turn into wee eating (they are after the salt) monsters at night. I am not sure that i got much sleep last night and when i arrived at todays camp ... Bless, there was a deer sleeping /part of the welcoming party!

20/7/15 29 miles and that was with hills, hot burning sun and a pit stop at the rv camp (stocking up with chocolate, a couple of pepsi and a mountain dew!). Drinking the pepsi and mountain dew meant that the 10 mile hill went by in a flash and i arrived at the top by 4.30pm!! 
Oh and how could i forget the angels oasis at 7am - 2 miles after I started this am (after sleeping in an ants nest!- yep another story here). Although i didn't stop long enough to take the outdoor shower, cook breakfast on the outdoor cooker or sample the food - i have to say it was the best organised trail magic!  I did however manage to leave my water bottle that had my large (and expensive) water filter on! Sadly, i only realised that i had left it behind 8 miles after (hmmm i think i need to drink more water!) - thankfully i still had my mini sawyer (that i should have thrown away weeks ago!) 

19/7/15 29.7 miles today!! Flat, flat and more flat! Ekkk!! I much prefer the hills.... However heat, sun and no water for 30 miles was the primary concern; the second concern was cows .... 😉

Luckily there was a cache after 10 miles so it meant that i made it to the lakes and little creek albeit a little dehydrated! I started to relook at my plan tonight and it looks like i will be heading into Oregon by the end of this month, then with 2ish weeks to cross Oregon ... I could be potentially on track and maybe even early!!!
18/7/15 saying cheerio is always hard and perhaps more so on trail especially to those who are leaving it at this stage. 

Passed and briefly stopped at old station/ J J's for a drink and very good sandwich (with real meat!!) 

After supper I continued along the trail ... Only to rattle a blinkin rattlesnake ... Not seen one of those for a while .... And i still do not like them!!

17/7/15 after a very entertaining burger at the local burger joint it was an evening of pool and beers at the rv camp (of course this was after showers and laundry duties). Back on trail after a fun 'ride' in the back of a roofless jeep! The evening was spent by a sandy lake. 

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