Cumulative Miles: 1282.5
The train departed just after midnight, and we settled into our seats that make first class flying look like coach. Despite our spacious accommodations, sleep was still difficult. We probably managed two, maybe three unrestful hours of sleep before being dropped off in the cute quiet morning of the small city of Dunsmuir, on a sunday. Naturally, at 5am on a Sunday, nothing is open, so we walked to a Chevron, waiting for it to open at 6am, so we could get some coffee and muffins.
After we ate, we realized that we were still too tired to hike, and no one was up yet driving to pull a hitch from to the trail. So we wandered down to a semi-secluded park under the freeway to take a power nap. Psycho lay awake, just enough coffee consumed to prevent sleep, while Apricots took half of a power nap. Around eight thirty we went back to try our thumbs at hitching.
Since we were on the far end of town, we doubted we could get a ride south. We chose to walk to the southern end, in hopes that our luck would be better. While walking across town a woman returning from her morning walk asked if we were thru-hikers. After telling her that we were, she offered us a ride back to the trail. What luck! Hitchhiking on the interstate is nothing shy of difficult.
Well, it would seem that hiking uphill in the heat of day on three hours of sleep is nothing shy of difficult as well. The trail started out flat with very easy grade and tread through douglas firs and incense ceders, and the day was looking up despite our lack of sleep. But after eight miles, we began a serious climb on exposed trail. The sun was cooking us, and the climb was steep.
There was an onslaught of bugs which hover in front of your face for five seconds before dive-bombing your eyes like some sort of kamikaze pilot. It was necessary to constantly swat at the air in front of our faces, or else we would have bug guts in our eyes or mouth. It is tricky doing a steep climb and breathing only through your nose, but it was necessary. Apricots "ate" five of these pesky creatures today.
Fortunately, the view was fantastic. We climbed the hill with constant picture perfect views of the rocky spires, Castle Crags. It wasn't long before we climbed out of the live oaks (and bugs) and made our way into sparsely populated Ponderosa and Sugar Pines. The hillside was dense with Huckleberry Oak.
Near the end of our day, we filtered water from a spring with Pitcher Plants, glorious insectiverous plants that help limit the quantity of bugs by eating them when they get trapped in their sticky pitchers. The Pitcher Plant has a small zone of where it grows, so seeing them is a welcome treat.
After dinner, we climbed another 3/4 of a mile to a small saddle with views back to Castle Crags, and to Mt. Shasta. We called for an early day, as we were beat from poor sleep. Tonight we hope to get good rest to set us up for a decent day tomorrow.
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