Day: Friday, July 29th 2016
Miles: 1217.4 – 1239
A-Tree Spring Remote Camp 1217.4 – Fowler Creek Remote Camp 1239
Not every day involves incredible peaks and views that inspire further progress and the moderate terrain I am currently encountering certainly represents a huge change in the dynamic on the trail. The Northern California introduction certainly was marked with some initial lows but keeping spirits high by focusing on Mt.Lassen as a tactical goal was serving me well.
My tiny perch by the edge of a carpark was very comfortable last night, despite the slightly bizarre and tight spot I landed in. After a late arrival into the area around A-tree Spring, the hard ground necessitated a camp spot wedged between a steep slope and a rotting tree trunk, however it proved to me I can wedge my little tent into some very unlikely places.
I started out by filling up with water for a moderate haul uphill as a nice morning refresher. As usual, the morning weather was blue skies and clear and the views were low hills with distance glances towards Mt.Lassen easing the horizon which was otherwise empty it any peaks for the first time since the desert. Thankfully Lassen was visibly much closer now so I feel like I’m making real progress.
Much of the day was inside the tree line and so those views were limited to occasional beautiful openings with dramatic ridges.
Hitting another milestone (of sorts), the 1234.5 mark was another feather in my hat, a few other kilometer markers had also been entered by the non-US folks!
One other interesting aspect of the trail is the names of the springs, features and areas we pass through. Some have graphical references to unfortunate individuals who came acropper in the area, others to owners or references to the physical aspects of the feature such as Rock Creek, Cold Spring etc. Today we passed by the hilariously named (and factually incorrect) Duck Soup Lake, onlyto later experience further disappointment when reaching Whiskey Spring to find that it was singularly mentionable for having no whiskey whatsoever.
At Whiskey Spring I met a hiker named FlyBy from Ottawa whom I recognized from back in the High Sierra. FlyBy had been roughly pacing me since Kennedy Meadows but I had not spoken with him before. As it turned out we ended up hiking together for a while before he jumped ahead, his trail name befitting his high hiking pace.
The day ended around Fowler Peak trailhead where I camped with FlyBy and another hiker named Tuley/TheOptomist in a comfortable pine clad area close to a forest road – a major luxury in comfort terms and hopefully a feature of the next few weeks we’ll enjoy regularly.