Hours on Trail: 10
Mile Marker: 1,693
I didn’t sleep too well last night and woke up wanting nothing more than to stay cozy inside of sleeping bag. But the desire to get to Oregon was strong, so I sat up to a granola, peanut butter breakfast burrito and began packing everything. The morning was surprisingly cool after all our past warm mornings, and it was nice to feel some ting of chilly on our fingers. We were packed and headed to trail by 6:30am, stepping over a small patch of bushes. Hiking down the half mile of trail we had done yesterday, we broke out of the trees for a bit. The sky was still cloudy from yesterday’s small rain front, but it looked as though these clouds may burn off during the day. I hoped they would stick around, but was fine either way. We hiked the morning away, occasionally chatting about random things as we waded through knee high grass and stepped over rocks and between pines. We were clearly out of yesterday’s burn area, and I looked forward to the possibility of more trees.
A little less than an hour into the hike, Keith realized we had passed our water source for the morning. It was about 2/10ths of a mile behind us, so I found a nice little look out and stayed with our packs while Keith ran back to get us some water. He was gone for longer than I thought he should be, and I began to worry a bit. About a half hour after he left, Keith returned with a little less than a liter of water. The spring turned out to be a large seep on the edge of a meadow with little to no area of flowing water. Keith had spent quite a while walking around looking for good water before filling a little bit. Not that we were too worried as we only had 5 miles to the next water, but it was a good reminder to keep to well documented water sources, especially when carrying such little amounts of water between sources.
Hiking another hour, we stopped for second breakfast atop a ridge. We had been gifted with some gorgeous views of Shasta and the surrounding ridges to the south. California would certainly go out with a bang, and we talked about how excited we were for Oregon. Eating on top of a large pile of rocks, we drank coffee and ate our Oreos and burritos. Keith had some service, so we checked the weather and contacted some family and friends, all who cheered us on for almost reaching Oregon. In the distance we could hear the ringing of cowbells, as a heard roamed the ridge parrellel to us. We laughed at the sound which would be in the background for most of our day today. Packing up from second breakfast, we were soon on trail hiking up the rocky ridge. We hiked atop ridges for most of the morning, rather than on their sides, giving us decently exposed sections of ground. Luckily the sun wasn’t too harsh and our morning stayed decently cool.
2 miles after second breakfast, we came upon our next water source for the day. Keith ran down and returned with the dirty water which we filtered and threw in our packs. The one hiker who we’ve passed a few times over the pass few days came by and we exchanged small and friendly conversation. He remarked about the cowbells and we all chuckled at their odd musical echoes through the valleys and ridges. Keith and I put our packs on after getting water and hiked along. The trail cut into some trees again and the shade brought us cool air. I kept an eye out for a good spot for lunch and exactly and 12pm, I spotted a perfect shady spot with a view of Shasta and other ridges around. Cowbells rang in the distance and we assumed they must be at our next water source. We decided to see if they would be and were glad that water wasn’t too hard to find in this area. We spent a nice long time on our little ridge, taking time to upload a blog and just rest the afternoon away. We weren’t back on trail until 1pm and headed downhill towards the cows. Sure enough they were hanging out by the water so we went a little ways before stopping to get water at the next creek.
After filling a liter each of water, we continued down the trail. A small inside joke between the two of us came upon us. A very long time ago I was paging through our maps and noticed a way point of “the junction of 6 unpaved roads.” With its proximity to the oregon/California boarder we found it funny and have been laughing about it ever since. As the trail opened out to the junction we celebrated our arrival of a long awaited junction and quickened our pace to Oregon. Returning to glorious conversations of randomness, we walked through the trees, crossing an occasional meadow before going right back to the trees again. A little before the boarder we came upon a small sign which read “trail magic ahead.” I was excited about getting to Oregon and wasn’t sure I wanted to stop, but Keith did and so we decided to go for it.
Climbing the small grassy hill we were welcomed by a group of folks. The one hiker we had seen the past few days was sitting in a chair eating and chatting to the one guy who welcomed us. He showed us the table of food, cookies, fresh fruit, cheese, and smokies. Overwhelmed by generosity we each took a little bit of almost everything and sat down. The man who welcomed us noticed us by the blog we’ve been keeping and told us the story of why they were there. The small cabin behind where we now sat had been one of the guy’s grandfather’s way back when. Over time the cabin was abandoned and falling apart, but now they were slowly restoring it. Every so often the group gets together for a little trip to the cabin to work on one aspect of restoring the cabin. As Keith and I sat there, more folks from the group came and sat down and we were told all sorts of wonderful stories about the cabin, hiking, other hikers, and other such topics. We stayed longer than either of us had anticipated, simply enjoying all the stories and conversation. Around 3:30pm, Keith and I decided it was time to move on. We thanked everyone for their generosity and we wished each other good days.
Keith and I headed back to the trail, feeling great and recounted some of the stories we had just been told. We climbed up the hills and soon came upon a glorious sight. The Oregon/California boarder. We made it! We celebrated with a high five and I took some pictures of the signs before we moved on. It felt great to make it to Oregon and with our first state down we flew into camp. Between running into trail magic and arriving in Oregon, our pace was faster than anticipated and we still arrives into camp by 4pm. We had our afternoon break food at camp and we set out to find a camp spot. I found a nice little spot off in the trees and brought Keith down to find my prize. He agreed and we set up tent and began to make our home for the night. I walked off and called Jacob while Keith went and found water just up the ridge. We made two round of Creamy Mash and I ate some of Keiths as he got too full. The view off our little nightly ridge was beautiful, rows and rows of ridges lay out in front of us, all colored a different shade of blue. We climbed into tent to escape the hoard of flies and soon were falling asleep. Tomorrow we will hike until we are just a handful of miles from i5 again. Now we’re just excited to go to the coast soon and eagerly anticipating our hike north through Oregon.