Day 84

Tearing ourselves away from Ameratti’s, we set our feet slowly moving up the steeply climbing trail. We both reach the verge of sickness fighting up the climb with our heavy packs, though we are veterans of such climbs. Eventually we are cheered by impressive Castle Crags, the refreshing streams, and the abundance of life that…

Day 83

I will always associate the Sacremento River with Paradise On Earth. Never has water made me feel so good. After our grueling hot descent to Castella, we splash in it for an hour. During the afternoon we hang out Interstate-side at Ameratti’s Market in Castella, pigging out. I break down and buy a paperback. Park…

Day 82

At my insistence, we push hard through the hot but shady forest hills to reach Squaw Valley Creek for a swim. Nothing can occupy my mind but the image of its cool fresh water. When we finally reach it the day is cooling off, but I enjoy a swim anyway (at the expense, perhaps, of…

Day 81

Perhaps in anticipation of rest, our bodies are sore even after fewer miles. We don’t cut back as much as maybe we should, both of us have a tendency to drive forward. Still, our minds are easy and the trail pleasant. Unable to find a decent camping spot, we plop down by the side of…

Day 80

Almost all our long views are dominated by hulking Mt. Shasta. They cease towards the end of the day as we enter an area we’ve heard southbounders call “the horizontal forest”. Trees litter the ground like pick-up-sticks, creating a jungle gym for us to climb, swing, and crawl through. Many logging trucks are parked around,…

Day 79

It’s not far to Burney Falls. I make my decision to stop at the Oregon border final with many long phone calls. We consume quite a few expensive Burney Falls ice cream cones. We make plans to enjoy our remaining days on the trail. The going will be easy, and we’ll be done around my…

Day 78

The Hat Creek Rim is indeed hot, dry, and dusty. The dust infiltrates all clothing, settles in against the skin and chaffs, especially the feet. But I am happy. The walk seems to have started all over for me. Pete points out Mt. Shasta in the distance, and I eagerly await a closer look. There…

Day 77

For some reason I really enjoy the walk into Old Station through rows of mature trees. We finally talk openly of stopping at the Oregon border, and again Pete greatly helps me to reduce my sense of failure. I promise to decide by Burney Falls, but really my mind is already made up. The burden…

Day 76

We see the sights of Lassen National Park. A steaming geyser, a boiling green lake, pits of sulfurous bubbling mud. I have no peace of mind. I often consider blowing off school to finish the trail, which would also mean leaving my girlfriend Camella to move to Chicago alone. I can’t make the decision.

Day 75

I’m ridden with guilt. I have to face the fact that we are not going to make it to Canada, and it will be my fault. True, both of our bodies are recoiling from the 28 mile days, but a good rest and a slower pace would cure that. But I have committed to going…