harpo’s pct journal: Aug 14-17

    Day 62 – 65 (Mount Shasta to Burney Falls)

Miles hiked this section: 82

PCT hiked so far: mile 2660 – 1416

Total miles hiked so far including blue blazing etc: 1234 ish
Day 62 cont

Several days before Shasta Groucho buys a local beer at the Etna grocery cause it says vegan on the side and organic on the lid. After drinking most of the 9% brew he reads the label which explains how an alien race called the Lemurians have a mystical, historical presence on Mount Shasta. A *fact* we now believe because of the series of magics that will occur in the days following our visit to Shasta and my purchase of a tiny blue crystal for $1 at a hippie mystic shop. 

But first: We return to the co-op for lunch. Groucho eats a heartbreakingly small sandwich. At the outfitter we meet Edmund* adorable and wise-beyond-his-years, who generously offers to return us 13 miles to the PCT after his shift. It’s always nice to meet people in towns you feel kinship with. We talk of the Lemurians, yoga, portals, crystals and hiking. Drop us a line Mr E!

We hike an easy 3 miles to camp. 
Day 63

I got my period in Shasta and today I get the weariness and melancholy associated with this special time. I plod along, uplifted by good co-op snacks and a lengthy mid day break and swim at the river. 
In the afternoon, I have a strong desire for socialization… tearing up as I think of simple things like dinner with Kate or sparkling wine with E Rock. Unbeknownst to me, my crystal is listening and manifests trail magic to help me. At the end of our 27 mile day, we arrive at the majestic McCloud river hoping to camp. My heart sinks as we see two huge vehicles and a jumbo size tent set up there. I imagine aloof weekenders partying all night and figure we’ll have to move on. Instead, the two 50-something gents turn out to be George, a hospital admin and fly fisher who has returned to this camp every summer for 25 years… and his BFF Brendan, a liquor rep whose mom was the first ball dudette for the Giants. Our angels ply us with questions, sweet conversation and beers, then as the sun sets they invite us to dinner and we are set up with awesome veggie succotash, roasted garlic bread, chips, grapes and a night cap. This is the cooked food trail magic we always hear NOBOs talk about and we are early enough in the season to enjoy it. After a nightcap we head to bed, willing ourselves to get up early to beat the heat tomorrow. 

Day 64

Today is besot with difficulties. Im tired because of our late night and we begin the day with a 10 mile climb. Five minutes from camp we pass an old army backpack with a piece of paper propped on top: Help Me. Next to the pack, an unmoving lump lies under a sleeping bag. As we near, the bag rustles to life and a tousled head emerges “do you have cell service?” The bag belongs to “Mayor,” a young man hiking a section to raise funds for a friend in need. Mayor is injured and stopped by this road yesterday to wait for help, not realizing that our trail angels with cars were at the campground just around the bend. We help Mayor pack up and direct him down to George and Brendan. 
Now we start the climb, dodging poison oak in lower elevations and a series of section hikers with differing info regarding upcoming water sources. whether because of my period, or the beers or the climb or the heat, I feel nauseous off and on. I tell Groucho the plots of all three Back to the Future movies which takes 2 hours. Water is not so difficult after all much of it is off trail but marked by stick arrows and rock piles other hikers have left.  

Groucho and I endure emotional difficulties. I feel fragile, exhausted, and insecure. We discuss this phase of the thru hike. I am in transformation, and need to summon faith that the person who emerges from this journey will still be worth loving/having over for dinner. Toward the end of the day I feel sick, nauseous, emotional, belly aches. We Struggle to do 21 miles and finally camp on top of a ridge with a beautiful sunset and our last view of Shasta. 

  
Day 65

We rise early… Hoping to get to Burney Falls by 8pm. It’s 33 miles away. Groucho is instantly mad about something sticky all over his stuff. We run into raucous NOBOs at the first water source who tell us improbable stories of cliff jumping into Burney Falls. These guys are the end of the NOBOs… The party train caboose. 
The trail is awesome and pretty easy but I still feel crappy off and on. By 3pm I realize this is hunger. Now, every 2 hours I need to eat or I have stomach pain, nausea, weak knees, extreme sudden anger or tears. Or all of the above. One time I almost black out. This sudden metabolism shift comes out of no where.  
We get to burney falls camp at 7pm. Completing 33 miles in 13.5 hours is amazing for us. We get Amy’s frozen dinners and soda… Town food! But the package of new shoes isn’t here… We’ll have to come back tomorrow. We blog and eat and make friends with a section hiker Domino, from NYC. We all camp at hike and bike… A designated site for hikers they tuck far away from polite company at the furthest edge of the campground requiring another half mile walk. (Hikers love walking right? Let’s stick them down the road!)

  
Day 66

We wake early but the mail doesn’t come till 10:30. Groucho does yoga. I do internet errands and charge devices. After our package again doesn’t show, I learn from the internet that our package arrived 4 days ago. After some looking around the shopkeeper apologetically finds it. It’s okay. We have had a lovely morning. But now it is in the 90s and we are about to go thru a 45 mile section with limited tree coverage or reliable water. We swim in spring fed Burney falls in our clothes so they will be damp and cool. We fill water and eat one more 700 calorie snack setting off around 2pm. It is HOT. We find a spigot after a mile and get wet again. We use umbrellas. 
I have cell service and correspond with Huck. We haven’t seen him for 3 weeks… Since he had shin pain in central Oregon. But I learn from facehole he went to redding to get shoes yesterday and is still having trouble getting out so I send him some suggestions since Groucho is familiar with the area.

  
 Around 5pm we arrive at wild bird cache maintained by Randy and Kathy, two public servants working to improve road conditions in Shasta County. It’s an oasis. A hiker’s paradise. A solar shower. A solar phone charging station. A gas stove, a pantry, a cooler of COLD sodas and beers, a picnic table, shade😎, dartboard, and water. Even trash and recycling. While we are there they pull up in their 4-by for a beer and chat. Super rad folks who know how to play spoons and harmonica. 
We hike on around 7pm now that sun is setting… learning Huck got a ride to Burney and is now 5 miles ahead of us. We hike till 10 and set up camp next to a sleeping bag lump we presume is Huck. 
  

*names sometimes changed to protect the innocent or because we can’t remember them and we are sorry

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