Dunsmuir to CS1517.4 (1499.2 to 1517.4) + 1.3 miles on Kettlebelly Trail
Daily miles: 19.5
Woke up and realized I could catch an Amtrak train next door and be gone and hiking somewhere else in a couple days. I could fly to Colorado and hike the Colorado Trail, or go up to Glacier National Park, or fly up and hike the northern Cascades southbound. But that’s not how this works, and part of a thru-hike is to simply endure, so that’s what I’ll do. The weather people say today’s the last day of dangerous heat, so I can take one more day.
By 11:00 I’ve road walked, hitched, resupplied, and walked the side trail that puts me back on the PCT. Of course, I feel great. So, good call on not leaving the trail. I walk fast, sweat builds up and drips off my cap, runs down my back and through my shorts. I drink liter after liter as I walk way up into the Castle Crags. I’m heading up to over 6000 feet.
The Crags build and spire, and it’s like being in a miniature Sierra Nevada range. The haze is still around, but as I walk up a breeze builds, and I feel a cool gust. I’m on the ridge and I can see the outline of Mt. Shasta, and I’m not dripping sweat any more. I walk later tonight, until almost 8, and make camp in time to see a sunset. Trees block some of my view, but I can see the Castle Crags and beyond and even some of Shasta.
I’ve made a resolution to come back here, when I’m not rushing around trying to make miles. I’ll come in the autumn, or maybe spring if the snows not too bad. I’ll explore around Shasta, and I’ll go into the Castle Crags and sit for a while. Some places just demand more attention than I can give them here, walking the PCT.