Day 103 – From tentsite to tentsite, mile 1553

Aug 1.

Got up 5.20am. Slept really well – the altitude was probably the reason for the cooler night.

But while the smoke had cleared up a bit last night, it was really bad again this morning.

The current forest fires in California seem to be a sad new record – also the German media report on the fires.

When hiking the trail, we always keep an eye on the website of the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) – they maintain a good overview on trail closures.

On trail at 6.15am. Today we might aim for a tentsite with water in 29 miles. Vertical profile looks ok. Trail will go up to over 7000 feet but more or less stay there.

First break at 9.40am, 10 miles in at Deadfall Lake.

Today I hiked with Gusty and Crumbs and ran into Footstuck and Orangutan multiple times.

Came to tentsite at 6.30pm at mile 1553. Also due to the smoke, it was nonotonous hiking day today. Quick dinner and into the tent.

I am looking forward to completing Northern California. The 29 miles today will help.

Once darkness came some deer walked around my tent – tried to hush it away.

Day 102 – Dunsmuir to tentsite, mile 1524

July 31.

Woke up at 6am, anticipating a pickup together with Gusty and Crumbs by Gusty’s dad around 6.45am.

Finishing the last fruits in a quick breakfast, I was in front of the hotel in time. Got updates from Crumbs about a delay so I walked to an espresso place in Dunsmuir.

Gusty, Crumbs and I started on trail by 8am. Surprisingly quite flat in the beginning. Following Crumbs lead, we took a wrong turn and hiked up steeply a while – but another fork of the trail led us back to the PCT.

Water was an issue – water sources up to 10 miles away. The smoke from the nearby forest fires of the last days remained – not much to see from the Castle Crags Wilderness…

Later today the trail got steep again – with the smoke and burnt smell not a pleasure to climb a total of 7000 feet today.

Late lunch around 1.30pm after getting water, 15 miles done.

In the sun… Continued walking a bit for shade. Rested until 3.15pm.

Crumbs and Gusty

Walked until 6.30pm to water and tentsite at mile 1524. 25 mile day. Satisfied considering the late start.

Day 100 – From Ash campground to Dunsmuir, mile 1499

July 29.

Started 6.45am after breakfast. Quite fast this morning… No problem to complete 10 miles by 10am.

Kept thinking about the plan for today… Push for 30+ miles and go to town already tonight or take it easier and hitch into town only tomorrow morning.

I had done 16.5 miles by 12.45pm, lunch break at a tentsite at mile 1485.

Only 13.7 miles to the highway 5 leading into Dunsmuir – so I will attempt to go to town today.

Twilight due to the smoke the whole day – not easy on the soul.

Short before the highway, I hit the 1500 miles marker. On day 100. 😁

Made it to the highway 5 around 7pm. Hitchhiking was surprisingly easy – considering I was hitchhiking the first time directly on a highway with the cars speeding by. An older couple was also trying to get a ride to Dunsmuir/Mt Shasta. After maybe 20 minutes, a car stopped with place for all three of us.

I got into Dunsmuir 7.45pm. I confirmed my AirBnB reservation at Hotel California in the center of the little town. Dinner in the Pizza Factory just next door.

Chillie and parmesan

Tired. Feet and legs are sore. Also the knees were complaining the last miles.

Day 99 – From tentsite to Ash Campground, mile 1468

July 28.

Got up early at 5.20am. Night was nice cool, a good refreshment. Poptart in the tent, coffee after breaking down the tent. Then started chatting with Flower… At the end, we only started hiking at 6.45am.

Just 8 miles by 10am, so I kept pushing.

Lunch and water at 1230pm at 1456, 15 miles done. The views remained limited due to the smoke. I was supposed to have a great view on Mt Shasta by now… Judge for yourself, that’s the best view I would get before coming into the town of Mt Shasta days later.

Peak of Mount Shasta floating above the smoke

Motivated by other hikers and their talk about a creek at the Ash campground, I kept pushing and made it there by 6.20pm – 28 miles today.

Pitched tent and took a bath in the river. Rinsed my clothes. Mashed potato dinner, chat with Gusty. In tent by 9pm.

Day 98 – From Burney Falls to tentsite, mile 1441

July 27.

Burney Falls

Got up 5.30am, left camp 6am. My tent was covered in ash this morning.

Took some photos of the beautiful Burney Falls, on trail 6.45am.

Britton Dam
Britton Dam

With the good start, I made my usual 10 miles by 10am. Getting water at Screwdriver creek, running into bigger group of hikers. Flower also there.

With 14 miles at 12pm, took a lunch break at Peavine creek.

Thinking about how many miles I wanna do today. It’s hot again and not as flat as the last days.

Song of the day: Herbert Grönemeyer – Wunderbare Leere

The landscape varied a bit, especially the trees. But the haze caused by the nearby forest fires remained the whole day.

I saw the group with Flower several times – they were aiming at a 28 miles campground. Too much for me… But it’s either 21 miles or 28 miles with water or dry camping in between.

It’s funny – I ended up as being one of the first to pitch my tent around mile 24 – all others moved by first and then ended up camping just hundred feet further.

Walking in the twilight all day caused by the smoke isn’t easy.

The night turned out to be good since it was cool, maybe due to the exposed location on a saddle and the altitude of 5200 feet.

Day 97 – From forest road 22 to Burney Falls NP campground, mile 1417

July 26.

Got up 6.20am. Slowly getting there… Few other hikers were active. Broke down my tent, had a coffee and a poptart for breakfast. Starting walking 6.10am – an early start for me, nice. My plans for today were ideally 25 miles again, that would take me to the Burney Falls campground. It has shower and laundry facilities – I am just not too sure how good the store is for the resupply.

Shortly after leaving the tentsite, I saw a skunk crossing the trail in front of me! First time I saw a skunk on trail! I made some noise and kept distance… You don’t want to mess with one of these – also considering that I have basically no clothes to change…

Smokey air all morning, as it turned out the whole day. The sun appeared in a deep red on the horizon.

Passed the 1400 miles marker.

Around 1pm came into Burney Mt Guest Ranch. A great place with friendly people. There were not many hikers around, it was easy to take a quick shower and do laundry. Their little store was well stocked with fair prices to resupply until Mt Shasta. Chatted with Crumbs and Gusty.

Left at 4pm – that was really effective.

Arrived Burney Falls around 7.30pm. Quick stop at the shop that closes at 8pm: chocolate, soft drinks, beer and chips.

Sitting with a bunch of other hikers including Flower/Colin and Nightwalker until 8.30pm – too tired then, went to the designated hiker area and pitched my tent. In tent by 9pm.

Long day, but really effective. 26 miles. And resupply done.