Getting out of town was easier than expected. After the breakfast in the motel and some last shopping, we were just standing at the street for a couple of minutes. An older couple stopped and offered a ride to the trail head: we don’t want you to stand out here in the smoke longer than necessary.
We got on trail at 10.30am. We refreshed at a water cache right at the trail head and started hiking out from Ashland and hopefully away from the smoke.
At 7.30pm we came to our planned tentsite with water at mile 1739 – an outlet with a waterfall from a lake.
22 miles – decent for a nero – considering that we only started hiking at 10.30am.
With just 6 miles left and leaving at 6am, made it to the highway before 8am. Crumbs and I were walking together to the the highway and met another hiker from Switzerland who had already called a trail angel for a ride. We were lucky – with basically no waiting time, we got into Ashland!
I went to the motel where Cactass and Tinkle were sharing a room with three other hikers. My early arrival was a surprise and being reunited was really nice! But it also meant good bye again soon after! Cactass is attending some weddings in September and for that, she decided to skip forward a couple of days to Crater lake.
With Cactass gone, we spent the rest of town time shopping for food, eating and resting. I used the life long Darn Tough socks warranty the first time and exchanged a pair with holes with a new one in the Mountain Provisions shop in Ashland.
It was also time for my forth pair of shoes:
First was Salomon X Ultra Mid, 0-700 miles
Second Lowa Camino Leather for the Sierras, 700-1100 miles
Third Salomon X Ultra 1100-1700
Fourth Salomon X Ultra 1700-?
The smoke situation from the forest fires is quite bad, especially around Ashland.
You see many people with filter masks on their faces on the streets – we will check out a local hardware store before hitting the trail later.
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.
Walked until 6.30pm to water and tentsite at mile 1524. 25 mile day. Satisfied considering the late start.
Slept until 7.30am, it was a hot night. Sierra City is located on a much lower altitude than the trail – that made the heat even worse.
Tinkle and I had resupply packages waiting for us in the post office – Cactass had a care package from a friend waiting as well. Since the post office only opens from 10.30am to 12.30pm, we had a lazy morning with breakfast in town.
Tinkle’s chocolate package has a long story. She had expected it first in Kennedy Meadows at mile 700. It didn’t arrive in time and the tracking later and attempts to forward never worked. I had given up the hope for that chocolate already… Maybe there never was chocolate? 😂 Today proved me wrong. Thank you for sharing!
The heat got worse during the day and after we had resupply completed from the packages and the general store, we still hung out in the shade before facing the 2500 feet ascend out of town.
When we got to the trail head, another hiker had his parents offering trail magic with sodas and fruits.
You never pass on trail magic…
We were finally on trail at 3pm. The ascend was not so steep after all. We covered the 5 miles to the 1200 miles marker quickly.
We found a tentsite soon after and camped with just 8 miles done on today’s nero. But tomorrow will be a full 25 miles day again.
Got on trail around 7.15am. Tinkle was suddenly pushing to make it to highway 15 and with that to South Lake Tahoe today instead of tomorrow… With just 18 miles left after yesterday’s push to 24 miles…
The morning was surprising with a cloud cover. A new sight… Some clouds even looked dark enough for rain.
Just after 4 miles, we made it to Carson pass and with that to our next trail magic.
Continuing on, the trail got steep downhill for the last 4-5 miles to the highway crossing. We were hit by a few drops of rain!
Right at the highway parking, we ran into the trail magic of CopperTone – a former through hiker who now lives in his expedition mobile as traveling trail angel. Thanks to CopperTone I experienced my first root beer float – vanilla ice cream and root beer – a perfect refreshment after the 18 miles on a warm day. Thank you! We got a ride into South Lake Tahoe from a nice lady whose son is currently hiking the PCT.
First stop was Basecamp pizza – as PCT hiker, you get a free pizza, pasta or salad there… Wow. Like three times magic on one day.
During the hike, Tinkle and I had agreed on another shakedown tomorrow morning… We are excited about increasing the daily mileage… Whatever it takes.
Two zero days in South Lake Tahoe. We will be back on trail with Cactass on Monday. 235 miles to the PCT midpoint.