July 31 (Day 91)

CS1548.2 to South Fork Scott River (1548.2 to 1576.5)

Daily miles: 28.3

Cup of Earl Grey tea and blueberry scones straight away this morning.  Sunlight coming through the early morning trees and the far away mountains looking orange in the dawn hours.  Hit some nice ridges and saddles before I’ve even been walking for 10 minutes.

Morning walking

Meet Steve and Steady in trailhead parking lot at 11, and they’ve set up some fine trail magic.  Steve keeps bringing these wonderful sugary treats by and handing them to me.  Hostess snacks, donuts, apple pie, Dr. Pepper, Cactus Cooler (orange-pineapple soda), until I say no more and then he hands me one for the road.  Steady (trail name), his wife, is a St. Louis native and a triple-crowner, which means she’s thru-hiked all three long trails.  Except she did them over a decade ago, when the PCT was essentially unheard of, and the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) was basically still just and idea.

Entering Trinity Alps

“We’d look at our guidebook and know we had to get to that big antenna in the distance, so we’d just start walking that way,” she said.  Meanwhile, I’m stuffing cake in my face and thinking about my smartphone loaded with apps and guides and GPS waypoints. “And for the PCT, there was only one water report, and you got it when you started your hike,” she added.  Now the water report is updated in real-time so that I know the status of nearly every source I come to, and it’s reliable.  Thru-hiking has changed.

So off I go, sugar acting like a drug on my body so that I charge up a 1000+ foot climb and then another right after it.  I’m buzzing with caffeine and sugar, and the views are fantastic.

I’ve entered the Trinity Alps Wilderness, which is a place you should go if you get the chance.  I get a few more glimpses at Shasta, clear as a bell now.

Camp next to running water and wash my socks, wash my dirty feet and dirty legs and look at the muddy water roll down the stream, cascading away until it becomes all clear water again.  Like I was never there.

The valley, where there’s water and cool air in the evening
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