All night, the lights outside the store stay on and cars continue to pass by and the “domesticated” cats go a-hunting; there’s little annoyance and less anxiety about all of it, though – something about civilization lulls me into a false sense of security, and I sleep well enough despite the distractions. I’m up early anyway, for a last bit of charging, three liters of water gathering, and to toss my talenti jar “stove” once and for all – Spesh has sent my Pocket Rocket to Ashland, and I’m going to make do with the snacks I have until I reach Ashland. One of the joys of packing too much food for this section. At 6am, Pineapple and I are walking out of Seiad on the last bit of road – towards the climb that’s likely to take up most of our day.
I learn more about the State of Jefferson as we walk – Pineapple knows more about what’s going on with that than I do, and it’s interesting to hear all about the history of this place.
We finally hit the base of the hill, where Butterscotch is sleeping. We’ll see him later, I’m sure of it. Then it’s up we go, up on our last crazy 10-mile climb before Oregon. 4500 feet of gain. LET’S DO THIS.
The first bit of the climb is alright, not too rough – but then it’s early, and we’re still under the trees. The spring is running just fine though, contrary to the water report – it’s nice and cool and clear, and I’m a bit sassy about having carried this much water this far up the hill. Still, it’s nice to stick my buff in, wrap it around the back of my neck. It’s getting warm already. I draft a note to the water report so no one makes the same mistake I did.
Up up up – all I want for Christmas is for someone to clear the trail between Mount Shasta and Oregon. I run into a few hikers on their phones about halfway up, send out the emails I’d been wanting to send. Then it’s more up, many up, much up. Wow.
It’s not as bad as I expect, though, and I’m done with the climb around 9:30. I take a break on the saddle after the main up with Butterscotch, Pineapple, and Kombucha, Bucha for short. We all start reflecting on California, too soon – much too soon.
Three more upticks, and then we’ll get some proper down. I leave first; all three of them pass me, and I get to be alone for a little while.
It’s nice to be alone with my thoughts, at least for a little while. It’s also nice to be at the back – I’m not thinking about people catching me, or setting the pace, or or or. I just get to be for a little while. I don’t know why I haven’t done this more often recently. I do catch them at the next water, and chill for a bit again. Then I take up the rear again, enjoying it in a way I couldn’t earlier in my hike. For reasons.
This is really, really nice – at the back and on top of the world.
I hit a dirt road crossing and everyone’s there, munching away. I join them in my own munching. Muffincheeks comes up on an ATV driven by a local – it feels a little like cheating to me, but my hike is not her hike – and it’s hot and she’s taking care of herself. So there’s that.
Everyone starts to drift away, but the heat’s gotten to me, and I need a nap – I drift off into a power nap for 15 minutes, feel much better when I wake up – even though it’s even hotter out than it was before.
I climb some more and it only gets hotter – I start shade-hopping and sweating through my everything. Every time I take a drink of water, sweat pulsates out of my pores. Just a little at a time. Shade to shade. I got this.
I start to get worried about water, as my stash dwindles and dwindles – I plan on stopping if I run out, waiting out the heat of the day. There’s no need though – shade comes, and lots of it, and then, there’s the spring. Not a lot of water at the spring, but there’s the spring.
Pineapple, Bucha, and Butterscotch are all there, planning on going three more miles – that’s where I was intending to go, too. It’ll only be 23.4 miles for the day, but I made up the 1.3 miles of difference and then some with the 30 miles yesterday. I gather a copious amount of water for dry camping and the next ten miles – soon, water will be a thing again, thank goodness. Then it’s up and down and over and out for the last three miles.
And then, camp! We’re 12 miles from Oregon, and a day and a bit of hiking from Ashland and a well-deserved zero. We’ve done nearly 7500 feet of up today – badass. Bucha, Pineapple, Butterscotch and I are all a-twitter over our day, our proximity to Oregon, and we chatter animatedly while we set up and eat. Once we turn in, I write until late-late, exulting in the coming days – and how solid today felt, despite its challenges. I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep – Oregon tomorrow! – but somehow, I manage.
Start: 1653.4 • End: 1676.8 • Day: 23.4
Notable Accomplishments: Conquered last big up in California • Hung out with Bucha, Butterscotch, and Pineapple • Was okay with doing me