Day 70: Ridge to ridge…

Day: Sunday, August 7th 2016

Miles: 1426.1 – 1459.1

Screwdriver Creek Remote Camp 1426.1 – Deer Creek Spring Remote Camp 1459.1

Not every day is interesting. I’ll be blunt. But you have probably realized that by now. Sometimes there may only be a fleeting ridgetop view that makes a day notable. Sometimes it’s sounds or an animal you see. It’s just the way the trail is. The section from Sierra City to Mt.Shasta has been marked by days like this, sometimes there simply isn’t very much to write about as the day was a mental day rather than a visual day. Ridge to ridge. Some music, some thinking, some lunch reflecting on miles behind and ahead. Perhaps spending time targeting the next few days in mileage numbers or notional goals. These are the things that keep you going on the slow days. Although sometimes I do feel like I’m running out of things to do, and that’s when the blues set in. Thankfully for me that’s not something that’s been a regular occurance but today certainly held out for a long time before that amazing view of Mt.Shasta blew away any doubts that formed over a very boring mornings hiking. Ridge to ridge.

Think of a tree tunnel. Walking in one can be inspiring or it can grate on you. The tunnel I speak of is what you see here in this picture: just imagine walking for 15 miles in one of these and you get the idea of how the Pacific Crest Trail can be a trial in patience and channeling your inner serenity!

Now think to this view. Unexpected. Inspiring. Incredible. Fleeting. This was the magnificent view of Mt.Shasta that suddenly emerged today, presented like a teasing shot of ways ahead. And then, just like that, the trail dropped back into the ridge facing away from Mt.Shasta, and I never saw it for the rest of the day, over 30miles of hiking, that included just 500ft of trail with a view that managed to motivate me for the entire evening, and probably for most of the day after too!

Thankfully the views did also inspire from the south with Mt.Lassen and Burney Mountain fleetingly coming into view as I crossed from one ridge to another. As the evening settled there was also an interesting perspective of the sun gradually being invaded by the darkness across a region spanning tens of miles. Whilst Shasta wasn’t in view, the expectation of getting ever closer tomorrow was enough to keep me rolling.

I eventually made camp by a pleasant cold spring in a really green and cool valley, it’s feeling like the Pacific Northwest here, and that makes me happy irrespective of the somewhat elusive Shasta!

During the night the spring was visited by a variety of animals including lots of deer and probably a bear based on some of the morning tracks. I suspect that these springs are busy spots despite their proliferation in this area, and likely not the best place for me to avoid an animal encounter so I’ll likely try to steer a little clearer of them in future. As always, the trail can politely provide one with some learnings at any point in time!

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